There is one thing certainly real about Google Spreadsheets and that is “hype” !
Recently, a fellow blogger claimed the end of server side java was possible with the emergence of Google spreadsheets. Do Google Spreadsheets mean the end of Java?. Praises of Google Spreadsheets like everything else Google is commonplace, but this took me by surprise and makes me ask a more fundamental question - Is Google Spreadsheets even a spreadsheet that an enterprise could use? MS Excel, the most widely adopted of Spreadsheets in the enterprise today, not only provides the nifty functions and data management features (sorting and filtering type of capabilities) - some of which Google has replicated - but also provides a rich VB Macro based programming possibility and an easy integration with all the other MS Office applications. Excel spreadsheets can be easily dropped into the Outlook mail client and embedded into MS Word. Business users love MS Excel, not only because of its built-in features but the fact that plug-ins exist for functionality ranging from budgeting to exchange connectivity to software life cycle management to rules definition. Even if Google Spreadsheets API was so simple that it took a developer a couple of days to build a useful plug-in - its still a few years before it reaches anywhere close to what is available with MS Excel. How about Google letting us import the spreadsheets into Gmail for starters?
Is Google Spreadsheets an online collaboration extension to spreadsheets like MS Excel or is it anything more? (Microsoft already has an initiative to bring the spreadsheet to the web).
Remember, that I like Google and I am a Java evangelist but should that make me blind?