Google hits a home run with Google Spreadsheet

I just got my invite to play with the latest offering from Google, the Google Spreadsheets and my initial reaction after playing with it for the past hour is incredibly positive. Unlike some of the duds Google has launched recently, this is a pretty nice, robust and useful offering.

I started off by creating a simple spreadsheet and tried out some simple formulas and it worked – I shouldn’t be surprised but I was. Tying in =(a1 – a2) actually worked and that’s pretty cool. Here are 2 simple screen-shots from my playing with the formula.


After I hit enter, the results are plopped into the cell.


The other neat thing was that the formula was saved in my document and the numbers updated when I changed one of the columns involved in the formula. I know it sounds pretty simple but it’s great to have a web application behave like a fat-client application.

Google Spreadsheets have a ton of other formulas that you can apply and it seems to offer all the functionality I use out of Excel. The collaborative feature also has great possibilities but that’s limited to people who have Google Accounts only at this point. Weird but I guess that’s something that they are working on to include anyone with an email address.


A couple of other nice features include options to export to Excel (xls), CSV and HTML. The Excel export works great and I was able to open up the exported spreadsheet in Excel as you would expect. The HTML export also works but the generated HTML does not validate which seemed odd but I know this is beta [insert your own joke here] software.

In addition to creating new spreadsheets, you can import existing Excel documents and this application did a great job of importing the spreadsheet with a ton of data and some complex formulas. I am very impressed with the overall functionality and overall usability of this application. Would I dump Excel to start using this? No – The accessibility and collaboration features are great but there are privacy concerns that would not make me comfortable using this application with some personal and confidential data. Maybe when GDrive launches, we will feel more comfortable about how data is encrypted in storage, segregated from other users and protected from hackers. Till then, I’m sticking with Excel for my rudimentary needs.


10 thoughts on “Google hits a home run with Google Spreadsheet

  1. Pingback: El Ruso » Google Spreadsheets: Not really a threat to Excel

  2. I just read the article on Google Spreadsheets on and so I thought I’d pop over thinking there’s no way you’ve already posted about it..guess I was wrong although I can’t say I’m surprised!


  3. Pingback: Tom Smith’s: theOTHERblog » Google hits a home run with Google Spreadsheet

  4. Interesting review. I agree with your review that Google has done a great job, especially for a Beta product. I also concur that this is long ways off from where Excel is at. However as I discuss in my blog (, Google can win in spite of an inferior product by following the ‘disruption’ strategy of serving customers with minimal requirements and non-customers. Google will beat Microsoft, the way Windows beat mainframes- with time by bringing the functionality to un-served masses.


  5. I agree with the spirit of your article, that Google Spreadsheets (as is) is no match for Excel, but in my latest blog post I bring up a feature which I think could make Google Spreadsheets an Excel killer, and you would be hard pressed to implement it in Excel (which doesn’t require being Online). This feature is simply web-references for spreadsheet formulaes.


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