Back on March 9, Google bought up a company called Upstartle. Upstartle created an on-line collaborative word processor called Writely. Much like when gMail first started, you needed an “invitation” to get a Writely account. I tried to get an invite, because I’m a closet computer geek who likes to try new things. Plus, I’m convinced that Google is trying to take over the world. I really wanted to play with this web-based version of Word.
Alas, I couldn’t get a Writely invite, and much to my chagrin, also like gMail, Google ended up closing Writely to new users. When I tried to sign up, I was assured that I’d be notified when Writely re-opened. So I forgot about it.
Now acting like Google Analytics, which also promised to notify me and didn’t, I never did receive my Writely notification/invite. But the ever vigilant Real Estate Tomato was all over it, and suddenly I was having Writely flashbacks.
So I scooted off to Writely, plugged in my Google account log on and in seconds was presented with a slick AJAXy interface. I haven’t fully explored Writely yet, but I can tell you one thing, it is WICKED COOL. The on-line collaboration holds very interesting possibilities. The whole package is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. I love the idea of being able to store document files on-line and access them anywhere without having to hassle with FTP’ing them to a server, downloading them, blah blah blah. I can jump on my laptop, work on a blog post, and then pick right up on a desktop. Anywhere where there’s an Internet connection, there’s my Writely documents. I don’t know where these documents are stored, but odds are overwhelming they have a lot better back-up system in place than I have.
You can save files in multiple formats, including RTF, Word and PDF. Switch between WYSIWYG and HTML on the fly. Collaborative editing is synched automatically (and/or manually). Files are auto-saved and you can compare revisons side by side. Spel Czech is included (curiously, neither “blog” nor “Writely” were in the spell check dictionary, but you can add words with a click).
You can even set up Writely to publish to a blog. Which I’m going to do right now… stand by… Ok, that took less than a minute, we’re about to find out if it works…
Get Writely. If for no other reason than to make Bill Gates tremble in fear. And from what I’ve seen so far, Gates should either be trembling, or drinking heavily.
Edited to add: the upload from Writely to the blog worked, for the most part. The post Title and the image got left behind. All the text, links and formatting uploaded fine. Probably some setting I missed somewhere…