The Next Big Thing: Spreadsheets?
Posted by: Rob Hof on June 09, 2006
What is it about spreadsheets these days? JotSpot recently released a way of creating online spreadsheets that can be shared, called Tracker. Then Google announces one this week. Now, the corporate wiki company Socialtext has a new partnership with Dan Bricklin, no less—inventor of the pioneering spreadsheet VisiCalc—to distribute Bricklin’s wikiCalc program.
I’m no ace spreadsheet jockey, but I get a glimmering of the larger usefulness from Socialtext CEO Ross Mayfield, who notes that spreadsheets are the key interface to databases for regular people. And unlike other word-processing and collaboration programs and services, spreadsheets handle structured data, which can be manipulated in so many useful ways with a computer. What’s more, a spreadsheet that colleagues can edit—and whose changes can be tracked for regulatory compliance purposes—could be a big deal.
Still, it’s kind of funny that the original killer app for the PC is returning as a key service for the Web—by one of the guys who originated it, no less.