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Apparently Google is attempting to replace Microsoft Office one app at a time. First it was Writely, a word processing app that runs on the web and can be used as a shared app. Now there's Google Spreadsheet (wow, catchy name!), that is - surprise! - a spreadsheet app that runs on the web and can be used as a shared app.You have to have a gmail account to use it, and you have to use one of the following browsers: IE 6.0+, Mozilla Firefox 1.0.7+, Mozilla 1.7.12+, or Netscape 7.2, 8.0. I bet you're thinking that pretty much covers the bases, huh? I tried it the first time out with Safari for the Mac and bottomed out. But once I switched to Firefox it was all good. Here's a screen shot:
FirefoxScreenSnapz001.jpg
It's another handy tool for libraries that don't want to or can't offer Microsoft Office to their users.
Another way to go is a service like ThinkFree, that offers online word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation software. Los Angeles Public Library has opted for this route. You don't have to be a library to sign up for ThinkFree; an individual can sign up in just a minute or two (they'll need an active email address for verification purposes), and once they're signed in they have instant access to the three apps and a gigabyte of online storage (Google Spreasheet storage is part of your two gigabyte Google account's storage limit). Only downside: it runs on Java, which can be a problem for some libraries' public use machines.
Update on Google Spreadsheets: if you decide to share a spreadsheet with someone else, keep in mind that only one of you can edit the spreadsheet at a time (a pretty good safety measure, if you think about it!).

Comments

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There are other online spreadsheets in the market as well. Probably you are interested to try out EditGrid (http://www.editgrid.com) and iRows (http://www.irows.com) as well. You may also check out a detail comparison (http://www.editgrid.com/user/siulung/Web-based_Spreadsheets_Comparison_Matrix) of all these services.

Comment: 
nice matrix! thanks for the link.

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With ThinkFree online web 2.0 app you can replace MS Office. Watch my screencast to see how it in action without the need to register. On myuninstalledlife.com I'm trying to uninstall everything from my desktop and replace it with web applications - and I mean EVERYTHING, I just don't want to replace the apps but also keep 100s of gigs of data online.