I really don’t understand this whole commotion about online office suites. There’s Google and the overhyped Writely/Spreadsheet and of course rumours of Microsoft creating an online version of their "Works" suite.
Let’s be honest – how much use is a browser based office suite? Is there any real benefit of having a browser-based office suite, or is this just another example of people doing things because they can?
You’ve got all the issues associated with an online browser-based office suite:
- Slow, bad performance.
- Stability – Browsers have to do all kinds of things such as run Java applets, cope with popups, etc. If one crashes, you could potentially lose all of your work.
- Hard to develop for – different issues on different platforms.
- Privacy issues – do we really want a copy of the document residing on Google or Microsoft’s server?
- A web based office suite will never match a real one for ease of use (web based ones have to work with limitations ofthe browser) or features.
- Network issues – there are many people with slow internet connections, network bottlenecks, etc. It’s bad enough when the internet goes down as it is; but I can still access and work on all of my documents and files from the hard disk.
The benefits of online office suites seem to be in short supply:
- You can collaborate with other people.
Well, you can but there is no reason why a traditional office suite couldn’t do this. It could do it even better.
- Your documents are accessible from anywhere.
A USB drive is actually a ton easier (faster; doesn’t require fast connection; doesn’t require network) and almost every computer has Microsoft Word or at least Open Office these days.
I’m sure that there will be some more but I really can’t think of any off the top of my head.
Besides, who wants to see adverts whilst their editing their spreadsheet document? Is it really hard to install a free copy of Open Office on a computer which provides a world-class office suite? What does one gain from instead using a web browser to edit their documents?