Zoho offline: Is being first enough?

As Mike Arrington points out at TechCrunch, Zoho has launched offline support for its Zoho Writer application (although it’s read-only for now) using Google Gears — which is more than a little ironic, considering Google still hasn’t offered the same functionality for Google Docs.

But while that irony makes for a funny post, does it really amount to anything from a competitive point of view? I’m not so sure it does. Implementing Gears support for Google Docs would probably take about half an hour of programming time — and in all likelihood requires little more than a piece of script to be turned on.

There’s no question that having offline support is a key feature, and Zoho should be congratulated for offering it. But Is being first enough to give it any kind of compelling advantage over Google Docs? Unlikely.

4 thoughts on “Zoho offline: Is being first enough?

  1. I don’t agree with the statement about half and hour; but

    – implementing offline support for read-only probably is very simple;
    – implementing offline support for read-write is probably considerably harder;
    – Google is most likely waiting for the latter to be complete before releasing either;
    – Google is probably prioritising Gears support for Gmail over Docs because there is certainly considerably greater demand for that.

    I’m a little surprised that Gears support for Gmail is taking so long, but remember that Gears itself is really at “alpha” quality – making such a key product as Gmail dependent on it at this early stage is probably not a risk worth taking.

  2. I agree being first doesn’t confer any huge advantage – but it takes more than half an hour of programming time though!

    The Zoho vision is to offer a comprehensive suite, with depth and breadth, and I think the market is big enough to support a decent business for Zoho, even if Google “wins”.


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