Google now has a web-based word processor, in beta testing, called Writely which obviously challenges the extremely popular desktop word processor Microsoft Word. Writely, being web-based and online, allows you to access your documents from anywhere at all without having to be bound to the same computer. This means if you work on a document at home, you can retrieve it on the web in your office computer the next day or whenever.
It can also be used to do collaborative text editing whereby several people can work together on the same document at the same time from different computers. Writely’s user interface is a WYSIWYG word processor, much like Microsoft Word, but appears within a web browser.
This online word processor is free. Also, there is no overall storage limit for files. However, individual text files cannot exceed 500KB each and images cannot exceed 2MB each.
Files made in Writely can be saved in MS Word (.doc) format and several other common formats like Postscript, Rich Text Format, and ODF that can be processed in many office suites. Writely’s files can also be saved as basic HTML and PDF. However, there is the possibility that PDF could become a premium feature once the program comes out of beta testing.
Another interesting feature is its integration with blogging servers, including Google’s own Blogger. After server configuration, users can simply press a button to upload their new post. However, there could be some teething problem at the moment. I tried it and the post went to be saved as draft in Blogger.
Writely is the product and Upstartle, which had four employees at that time, was the company that owned, developed and maintained it. On March 9, 2006, Writely was acquired by Google.
Immediately following the acquisition by Google, Writely stopped accepting new registrations to its services for about five months until the move to Google servers was complete.
When the service re-opened to the public on August 21, 2006 it had been completely relocated to Google’s servers but surprisingly not yet integrated into Google’s suite of web services and utilities. However, it is expected to figure well in Google’s plans and may well overtake Microsoft Word in popularity.
Now for a comprehensive summary of the features of Writely:
Required Operating System: Any web-based application
Use: Online word processor
With Writely, you can:
>Use the online editor to format documents, spell-check and more.
>Upload Word documents, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML or text.
>Download documents to your desktop as Word, PDF and more.
>View your documents‘ revision history and roll back to any version.
Plus, since it’s online, you can:
>Invite others to share your documents by e-mail address.
>Edit documents online with whomever you choose.
>Publish documents online to the world, or to just who you choose.