My Chars

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Tried out Writely... not impressed

Following my last post, I registered to and tried out Writely. Well, what can I say. I am not impressed.
Yes, Writely does basic word processing. Very basic...
Oh sure, the ability to export to a variety of formats is nice and I suppose the ability to collaborate is cool. But before you export something or collaborate on something, you need content - and the current feature set of Writely takes me back to Word, circa Windows 3.11. Heck, IIRC even that version of Word had more features then the current Writely does.

  • Want to change the spacing of letters? No can do.
  • Want to create and use your own text/paragraph styles? Nope.
  • Want to insert formulas? Can't.
  • Selection of fonts or special symbols - sadly lacking.
  • Built-in library of images - none.
I really have to wonder about the sanity of the many online pundits forecasting the emergence of a web office suite to rival Microsoft Office, based on Writely. I seriously doubt any of them has actually tried Writely. Or maybe they have, and simply don't have many demands :)

If Writely were a one-man project by a student or single developer, I'd be impressed by it's current state - but I'd still think it needs more work.

As it is, while I have no idea how much Google paid for Writely, I have to wonder at their reasoning. As a very simple and basic text editing Widget, Writely is fantastic, and if all Google want to do is use it to enhance Gmail and Blogger - more power to them. But if they really think they can get people to work on this instead of a real word processing application, they are in for a rude awakening...

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