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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.

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Reader Comments

Dave Taylor

June 9, 2006 12:30 PM

Not only that, but the Google Spreadsheets can be easily shared too, either letting others have view-only or full edit capabilities. Very cool! I pulled together a quick tutorial for people curious:


June 10, 2006 08:18 AM

I am not sure whether shareable web based spreadsheets become a next big thing. But Google Notes surely does. It was rather very difficult to keep track of notes while browsing, the links, content etc. came that help you to store the links. But just links. Google Notes let you store content while also storing the link of the story. More, it allows to organize in notebooks and sections. You can share or keep it private. This is a big thing for me, as I don't have to carry my notebook all the time, and never have to worry that I forget where i read and what i read. The coolest of all and biggest of all to me is Google Notebook.


June 12, 2006 05:00 AM

Just on the comment on Google notes by Murali - Google copied the feature from MS One Note


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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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