Google Labs have posted a “sneak peek” of their forthcoming Google Spreadsheets application. The following functionality has been implemented:

Create basic spreadsheets from scratch.
You can start from scratch and do all the basics, including changing the number format, sorting by columns, and adding formulas.

Upload your spreadsheet files.
Upload spreadsheets or worksheets from CSV or XLS format – all your formulas and formatting will come across intact.

Familiar desktop feel makes editing a breeze.
Just click the toolbar buttons to bold, underline, change the font, change the cell background color and more.

OK, so this is an innovative tool, but is it really of any real-world use? Is there a need for a very basic online version of Excel? OpenOffice Calc is a capable, open source spreadsheet application, so you can’t really argue that there’s no free alternative to Excel.

Google have created a number of winning applications, notably Google Calendar and Gmail, but I very much doubt they’ll find a market for online spreadsheets.

UPDATE – June 13th 2006

It seems I’m not the only one who is unimpressed with Google Spreadsheets. Technology Review question Google’s strategy.

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