Google attracts Office users little by little

17 Jul 2008

Not everything Google does is mind-boggling, life-changing and reality-altering, and why should it be? It’s the little things in life that count apparently and if you want to keep track of those, you can do it for free with the new ‘templates’ feature from Google Docs.

Google Docs is a standard, free online collaborative productivity toolset: you have your documents, your spreadsheets and your presentations (or PowerPoint to Microsoft Office users).

The thing is, before today there were no templates available for those standard little tasks one might want to carry out online for easy access.

Google reckoned this was one thing that probably irked the Docs user – creating documents from scratch when the need for the same type of functionality cropped up again and again. Now there exists a directory of handy little task trackers, like the credit-card payoff calendar, petrol-mileage calculator and event-guest list.

You can also make some basic business cards, project reports, letterheads and invitations to boot.

While it is great to get this improved functionality from Google Docs, much along the same lines of what Microsoft Office can do, it does make you wonder why the company keeps tweaking their free products for the benefit of the user. Back in April, Google Gears was added to Docs so should your internet connection break off suddenly there is an option to save and access offline.

If there was a possibility of Google at some point in the future beginning to charge for its service, would the company generate much revenue this way? How many improvements and add-ons have bit by bit tempted people from the solid, reliable world of the desktop productivity suite like Microsoft Office and how many people would be willing to pay, say an annual fee, for this service?

By Marie Boran

Pictured: Helping you spread your big news – an example of a template from Google Docs