Search giant Google (GOOG) says it has purchased the company that makes Writely, a Web-based word processing feature.
Writely is, simply put, a word processor embedded into a Web browser. It's still in a nascent beta form and is no longer freely distributed; "it's far from perfect," Jen Mazzon writes in her newly revealed role as a member of the Google Writely team.
Despite the drawbacks, it apparently fits perfectly into Google's plans. While better known for its consumer search engine, Google is mounting a significant effort to win over office computer desktops.
"If a decent spreadsheet/database/presentation program goes to Google, this could undermine some of Microsoft's Office revenue," said one industry insider who asked to be unnamed.
Google's latest purchase is in line with its preferred means of delivering its software and services over the Internet, rather than selling it on compact disks, writes Om Malik, the analyst who first reported on the pending buy.
The drawback to this approach, though, is that lots of material has to be stored on Google's network of servers.
"Convincing the masses that their documents will be safe, especially with all that has been going on lately, may be quite challenging, even if it's FREE!," Malik adds.
Check out eWEEK.com's Search Center for the latest news, views and analysis on enterprise search technology.
Copyright © 2006 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Ziff Davis Media Inc. is prohibited.