Writely, Google, O’Grady, and why I don’t really need or want a traditional word processor any more

Steve O’Grady of Redmonk has contributed another one of his fine Q&As, this time on the Writely acquisition by Google. I want to re-emphasize his last point of advice “… I’d love to see Writely continue to innovate in different directions; don’t try and be Word.”. I’m not picking on Word here, I don’t think Writely should be any kind of the app-on-the-desktop-os traditional word processor.

My use of these traditional word processors has dropped to almost nil. When someone sends me a file, I’ll fire up an app to look at it, but I do almost no content creation in the word processor. I’m writing this at the moment in the WordPress “Write Post” app for my website and then I’ll cut-and-paste the HTML into my IBM blog as well. I’m not afraid to do straight HTML editing when necessary, though I know that’s not for everyone. I also do a lot of content creation in email, in particular, in Lotus Notes which supports all sorts of rich text features. My point is, I create content in the process of carrying out certain tasks, but one of those tasks is not “using a word processor.” I could probably hack the PHP of WordPress to cross-post to my developerWorks blog (that’s probably not a bad idea, actually), and then my blog creation process will get even easier. If I had good, lightweight offline tools that synchronized when I connected, that would be even better. With a bit more content management, better ways of sucking links into documents, good document searching, and better distribution mechanisms for content (send to people, send to blogs, update a wiki), I’d be one satisfied camper.

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