Google Acquires Writely

Back in October I was extremely excited about Writely. It has been a few months and my love for the word processing application grows each time I use it. I wrote:

The gist of this application is that its a Word Processor online! You can type documents (much like you can with MS Word or OpenOffice.org) through a web interface. The application has an auto-save, hot keys, exporting to HTML and Word, HTML editing and the ability to publish to blogs! Oh, and the sweet part about it…you tag your documents and can distribute them with other users.

Writely is an excellent product and, like most other web 2.0 applications out there, larger companies caught notice. This time, rather than Yahoo acquiring this web 2.0 app like it did Flickr and Del.icio.us; Google made this acquisition. There is now a Google Writely team. Jen Mazzon, a Writely developer posted this on the official Google Blog:

For the last five months, I’ve been part of a Silicon Valley startup called Upstartle, which makes Writely, a collaborative word processor that runs in a web browser. Well, as of Monday, I’m happy to say that I, and the rest of the Writely team, are now part of Google.

The Writely team seems happy with the acquisition (as I would be). Sadly, if you are interested in creating a Writely account, you’ll have to wait until they re-open account registration…which they plan to do once they’ve re-located to Google. The good news? Those that already have accounts will still be able to use them as is. Also those that have existing accounts can still add collaborators to documents despite the closed account creation process. Sexy.

And if you’re curious:

Here are our “top 10” reasons why being part of Google is fantastic for Writely and the Writely team:

10. Writely is like a caterpillar that we hope to make into a beautiful butterfly at Google!
9. We love Google’s philosophy and values — especially “Focus on the user.”
8. We’re as passionate as Google is about respecting users’ privacy.
7. Many of our users are already Google fans using other Google services.
6. Being at Google will help us do more great things faster.
5. Some people didn’t feel comfortable trusting a tiny startup with their documents…and we’re no longer a tiny startup.
4. We like lava lamps and they’re pretty much standard decor at Google.
3. Three words: Free Googleplex lunches
2. As fun as it’s been to launch a popular, global, 24×7 Web service, it’ll be nice to take a vacation once in a while!
…and the number one reason???
1. We’ll be able to bring Writely to not just thousands but millions of users — the more, the merrier

Writely

Zach over at NoSheep! wrote an article about Web 2.0 and the Long Tail that intrigued me. That article linked to another article by Tim O’Reilly that discusses various services that are getting heavy notice on their innovations on the web. One has really caught my eye….Writely.

The gist of this application is that its a Word Processor online! You can type documents (much like you can with MS Word or OpenOffice.org) through a web interface. The application has an auto-save, hot keys, exporting to HTML and Word, HTML editing and the ability to publish to blogs! Oh, and the sweet part about it…you tag your documents and can distribute them with other users. I teach a course at Plymouth State University and the last quiz that I administered was typed up using Writely. I’ve done a few other documents since then and it seems extremely slick.

That doesn’t mean its perfect. Writely is still in Beta (as most Web 2.0 apps are) and I have a few issues with it so far. When you export a Writely document to Word, it works but the formatting looks a little off. Also, there are a number of features that are provided in a full-fledged word processing application that are not yet provided in Writely. But thats what the beta is! Check it out, use it, make suggestions.

If you haven’t checked it out…do so. It’ll be worth your while.

http://www.writely.com/