A spreadsheet to rule them all - not

June 07, 2006

Yesterday Google‘s issued yet another part of what people already call the Google Office. After acquiring top-notch online word processor Writely earlier this year, and releasing a nice calendar a few months back, they have now created an online spreadsheet application.

It’s using the tried and tested Google AJAX interface, which looks simple but can be quite a burden on a browser (mine at least). Uploading a file works quite nicely:

spreadsheet uploading

I tested Google’s spreadsheet by uploading PearBudget, an extensive personal finance spreadsheet (I wanted to upload a smaller file, but as I’m using OpenOffice and the spreadsheet doesn’t support their files, I had to opt for something off the web).

Here’s what the file looks like in Google’s spreadsheet:

spreadsheet with loaded PearBudget

Unfortunately, Google’s Spreadsheet seemed to buckle under their weight of the file. I’ve had this suspicion with the Google Reader, and it’s been confirmed once again: There are limitations for AJAX use, and Google sure knows how to point them out.

While it’s nice to revel in AJAX magic, there’s just no use in making AJAX simulate desktop apps if you can’t make it work as fluid and fast as a desktop app. The people at Writely did a great job building their AJAX word processing app, so why can’t the good people at Google?

In the end, Spreadsheet isn’t a big deal. Neither over- no under, I’m hardly whelmed.

37Signals’ Jason isn’t convinced either, and for Mike Arrington the world’s still the same.