Original Poster
Bas Braams

Prediction: Docs text editor and spreadsheets to be frozen and abandoned in favor of Quickoffice and other products

For anyone’s consideration and interest I like to offer here a conjecture and a prediction. Conjecture: there has been a decision within the Google Apps team that the Docs text editor and spreadsheets programs will not be developed further. Prediction: It will be announced in Fall 2013 at the latest that the Docs text editor and spreadsheets programs are frozen in their development and in that in due time they will be abandoned in favor of Quickoffice and of external programs such as the LibreOffice suite. (I don’t have experience with Docs Drawings and Presentations and have nothing to say about those programs, or about Forms.)

The conjecture that it has been decided that the Docs text editor and spreadsheets programs are not being developed further is the only way by which I can make some sense of observations of errors and defects in those programs.

For the case of the Docs Spreadsheets I have documented a litany of serious errors in several places on this forum, most concisely in [1-2], and also direct to Docs+Drive staff at various levels of the hierarchy. Some of the serious errors are also extraordinary embarrassing. From refs [1-2] I highlight here only the erfc/normsdist complex of errors and the erroneous implementation of the binary search. If these errors are picked up in the right place it could cause a public relations disaster for the Apps project. Even if the team has (as I believe to be the case) not a single person who can deal confidently with numerical computations and even if the team members lack (as I believe to be the case) the skills to program correctly a binary search; nevertheless there are ways for management to get such errors corrected. The errors are not corrected. The only way, finally, in which I can make sense of the situation is by the assumption that effectively the Spreadsheets program is being abandoned; it just has not been announced yet.

For the case of the Docs text editor the situation is a bit more complex. It does not have manifest errors similar to those in the spreadsheets program; instead it is just very seriously deficient and no positive development in editing functionality is seen. I think of capabilities for mathematics, table handling, treatment of accents, page headers and many other issues as described in [3-4]. I think that there was probably a serious effort to develop the text editor through about mid-2010 when the change to HTML5 was made. This change introduced unforeseen problems, notable the cursor drift issue (see [5] for a summary), and I have the impression that pretty much everything that happened to the Docs text editor since 2010 can be seen as an effort to get these problems under control and nothing else was possible. After 3 years or so the team and management may be ready to throw in the towel. The product is probably no better now than when it was acquired from Writely 7 years ago and this has to be seriously discouraging.

A closing note: I made a prediction about Docs+Drive once before. Shortly before Google Drive was announced I predicted that if it would be announced and if it was developed by the Docs team then the product would fail [6]. Anyone can make his or her own call on that one; I did so under [7].

[1] (2012-05-06) Errors and other issues with statistical and mathematical functions in GSheets

[2] (2012-09-26) Errors in the spreadsheets program

[3] (2012-02-22) Issues with the GDocs documents text editor

[4] (2012-02-21) Issues with the equations editor

[5] (2011-08-15) Re: Combination of font, zoom, and justified paragraph creates editing problems

[6] (2012-03-13) Re: Deleting Entire Google Docs Does NOT work

[7] (2012-11-10) Re: Google Drive desktop client, 2 weeks usage report (it's not good)
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All Replies (1)
Google user
Google user
What do you think about the New Sheets, and the support for offline editing?
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