Google’s purchase of online word processor Writely (as tipped by Om) puts the lie to repeated protestations from Google-ers that they aren’t after each piece of Microsoft’s business. Bing, bing, bing, off they go. Absolutely.
Now, however, a mild criticism of all the techno-utopianism out there. How many users does Writely have? Minimal. Less than the number of people who turn on Microsoft Word in the U.S. in the time you read this sentence. And have any of you boosters actually used Writely? It’s a fine tool, and I use it now and then, but a Word replacement it is not (yet). Sure, it could yet turn out to be disruptive, which would be great, but this game is far, far from over.
Finally, I think Google should, on principle, avoid completing construction of an online office automation suite in 2006. Why? Not because it shouldn’t buy Numsum or the like, but because Jason Calacanis would
truly become even more insufferable about having repeatedly predicted it.