OK, for those not familiar with hockey, a hat trick is three goals in one game by one individual. (I’ve learned it’s also a term in Cricket for when a bowler dismisses three batsmen in consecutive balls. This likely pre-dates the hockey usage.)
Well, with the acquisition of Zenter Google finishes a trilogy that will help them take on Microsoft’s Office in Web 2.0 fashion.
Zenter provides software for creating online slide presentations, and Google will waste no time in building on it to finish the addition of presentation capabilities to Google Docs & Spreadsheets. With that work completed, Google Docs will then provide the “big three” office functions (word processing, spreadsheet, and presentations) and better enable them to position it as an alternative to Microsoft Office when the beta cycle is completed.
It’s too early for any lofty goals here, but I can see Google initially positioning their offering as a supplement for business users at a small remote office, or home, or a public workstation, etc. Especially those that do not travel enough to justify a laptop computer and Office license for the road. And if such users are productive with Google Docs, then businesses may begin to wonder if they really need an Office license on every corporate desktop. What starts as a way to avoid an occasional Office license here and there could turn into something to avoid many more such licenses.
Further, Google Docs’ price (free or small fee) is certainly going to appeal to consumers as opposed to getting even the smaller Office bundle for their home use.
Some people and businesses will embrace Web 2.0 apps sooner than others. There are numerous questions, including those about overall application performance, and the safety and security of your data. There’s also concerns about being helpless if the network is not available when the apps are most needed. And of course there’s the question of just how good the completed Google Docs applications will really be as compared to their competition.
For these reasons, and others, a local office suite such as Microsoft Office will likely always remain on some desktops, but it will be very interesting to watch Google Docs and see how the Zenter addition will work out.