Yet another Google story (!) – this time Google have announced that they have bought Writely – I wrote about Writely previously, Writely is a browser-based word processor with all kinds of Ajaxy, starring, tagging and RSSy goodness!
This further strengthens Google’s hand in their ambitions to have everyone save all their info on Google servers.
Om Malik had a lovely graphic on his site (reproduced below) showing how Google’s online offerings are quickly catching up with Microsoft in terms of functionality and have the added advantage of being free –
Another key difference between Microsoft’s Office offering and Google’s offerings is that you save Microsoft Office documents on your computer (or the office LAN) primarily, whereas with Google’s offerings, you save on their servers so your documents are available to you wherever you have an internet connection.
Of course the downside of the data being on Google’s servers is the loss of privacy. If information is on your computer at home (tax returns, love letters, business records, financial/bank details medical files, etc.), a search warrant is required to access it – if it is on a Google server, a subpoena is all that is required to get your information and there is no requirement on Google to notify you of that subpoena before the information is handed over!
If Google were to stand by their motto of doing no evil, they should encrypt your data and store it encrypted on their servers with only you having the private key to unencrypt it.
Don’t hold your breath!