Google’s Schmidt: “casual” sharing and use of Office files. Huh?

There’s an interesting but brief interview in PC Magazine with Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO. John Batelle interviewed Schmidt, and asked him among other things about Google’s “office suite” which includes Google Docs and Spreadsheets.

“Schmidt took issue with the “office suite” moniker: “The argument goes like this: For many people, it would be just as easy to have the computer in the cloud store the information that you use everyday. Furthermore, if you have that model, it should enable very rapid sharing so we embarked on a strategy more than a year ago to build applications that are focused on sharing and collaboration,” he said. “The sum of that is a different way of managing information and we don’t position it as an office suite. We position it as something you’d use everyday in everyday life.”

“Yes, but it is still a replacement for Office,” countered Batelle.

“We don’t see it as a replacement of Office. The focus we have is not the focus they have,” Schmidt said, referring to Microsoft. “Our focus is on casual sharing and casual collaboration.”

But Batelle was not having it. “But the benefit is that its free.”

“Well you could pay people to use your product,” said Schmidt. And that was the end of that.

When was the last timeyou casually shared a spreadsheet? I’m not talking about using Microsoft Excel to create the batting line up for your five-year-old’s T-Ball team. Personally, I couldn’t remember an instance where I used Excel “casually.” As for Microsoft Word, I had to struggle to recall a time when I sent .doc files to someone in “casual” collaboration: 2004, for a neighbourhood block party invitation. And even then, I think I relied more on Outlook email than Word.

Now OneNote, sure. 😉 

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