Google Spreadsheets to go forth and multiply

Google is about to add another online service to its ever expanding portfolio: Google Spreadsheets.

Google Spreadsheets to go forth and multiply

The prototype application will let you create spreadsheets from scratch or upload existing CSV or XLS (Microsoft Excel) formats, and edit them a familiar toolbar button interface.

Google says all the basics – such as changing number formats, sorting by columns, and adding formulas – are covered. Data can be exported back to your computer in CSV, XLS and HTML formats.

More interestingly, you will be able to choose who can access your spreadsheets (based on email addresses) and share the document editing with them (once they sign in), seeing changes in real-time. According to Google, the online storage and auto-save means that users needn’t fear hard drive failures or power outages.

Note that Google Spreadsheets is still only a Google Labs prototype. This means that it is a ‘limited test‘, open to initial users on a first-come, first-served basis, but you can try and sign up here.

With Google unveiling its much-anticipated online calendar application in April, the intent is clear: present an online alternative to Microsoft Office. Microsoft itself, of course, is increasingly moving its services online via its Windows Live and Microsoft Office Live offerings.

While a word processing component has yet to be fully Googlised, the process is already in hand – back in March Google acquired Upstartle, the small company that owned Expect Google Writer soon.

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