I’m not a big Google fanboy. I don’t tend to prosyletize their apps. That’s not my job. But from time to time I’m struck by just how good some of Google’s products are. And so today, looking at a new online office suite called Peepel, I’m reminded of why Google Docs and Spreadsheets are so useful.
1. Synergy with Gmail — this is really the killer. Every press release, PR pitch, article or spreadsheet I receive in e-mail I can open in Google Docs. That’s killer. Totally removes the uneccesary step of downloading the file to my Mac. Peepel, unfortunately, has no such integration. The site is thus outside my daily routine.
2. Simplicity — I don’t need to create complex algorithms with a spreadsheet. I just need the sum function. Peepel has a complex toolbar, but that’s useless to me. I also don’t need to open multiple windows as though I’m working on a desktop.
Now I’m sure there are power Excel and Word users out there who would love to have all the benefits of their desktop apps in the browser — an old discussion that’s been covered quite well on Read/Write Web.
But I write and send invoices for a living — and so I’m more a heavy app user than most citizens — and rely on Google Docs and Spreadsheets for, well, everything. I write all my longer articles in Google Docs, and I complete all my invoices in Spreadsheets. Easy peesy.
Peepel looks like an app that’s trying to solve the “killer app” problem. But the problem, in my view, is that any new would-be killer app — at least, any one that relies on established workflows — needs to build itself into existing workflows on the Web. Your app might be great, but if it’s also out of my way, I’m not going to use it.