Look ma, my docs are in the cloud!

by Mathew on March 31, 2008 · 7 comments

Nice to see that Google has finally launched offline access for Google Documents — or at least for text documents anyway (apparently presentations and spreadsheets are coming later). I guess we should be grateful, although I still have to wonder why Zoho has had offline capability for its document-sharing service since way back in November sometime, which is based on Google Gears. I thought having inside knowledge of features helped companies triumph over their competitors — or is that the kind of thing that only works for Microsoft?

Late to the party or not, I still think Google is the one to beat. Zoho’s services are great, and I use Zoho Show in particular a fair bit, but when it comes to trusting a company with my data I would have to come down on the side of Google. Doesl being a multibillion-dollar company mean that they won’t be vulnerable to outages that take down the cloud? Hardly. But I expect them to have some pretty mean backups and redundancies, thanks to those 600,000 servers they have in warehouse farms around the world (or however many they are up to now).

Some — including Frederic of The Last Podcast — say the sharing part of Google Docs doesn’t interest them much, and that they need features that only an offline or desktop version of a word processor can offer. I have to say I don’t need the latter, and I think the former is a critical feature, especially as companies try to make it easier for their employees to collaborate and become more creative. (Note: Rafe Needleman at Webware points out that Mozilla is planning to build this feature into its browser).

  • http://zoho.com Sridhar Vembu

    Mathew,
    Thanks for using Zoho! While there is no such thing as perfect security or perfect safety, we take all the standard precautions in the Zoho data center. It is in a top-notch facility in California (as well as a remote backup), and we keep 3 copies of your data + a backup. We have 700K+ users already on Zoho, growing fairly rapidly.

    Yes, scale economics does apply, but it plays even at our size. Cost per user to scale tends to fall rapidly starting from zero users, and then it flattens out (so the first million user drops the cost very rapidly, while going from 10 to 11 million does not drop the per user cost that much).

    Finally, Zoho's parent AdventNet has been in business 12 years, with profitable, organic growth. From a development perspective, we have demonstrated the ability to execute, and we will continue to put out a steady stream of updates.

    Sridhar

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Thanks for pointing all that out, Sridhar — I didn't mean to suggest
    that Zoho was some kind of fly-by-night organization or anything. I
    just think Google is a little bit better known, that's all.

  • http://zoho.com Sridhar Vembu

    Mathew, no question Google has the formidable brand. I didn't take your post negatively either – I actually appreciate your mentioning Zoho! I was just saying (assuring, really!) Zoho is a viable choice against the much bigger Google – because we have a sustainable business model, and sufficient scale to compete. Sort of like how a 50-store chain can often compete against a 5000 store chain, by specializing and differentiating.

    Our key differentiation is richness of features, sharp focus on the needs of demanding business users, and the breadth of product portfolio addressing such needs.

  • http://zoho.com Sridhar Vembu

    Mathew,
    Thanks for using Zoho! While there is no such thing as perfect security or perfect safety, we take all the standard precautions in the Zoho data center. It is in a top-notch facility in California (as well as a remote backup), and we keep 3 copies of your data + a backup. We have 700K+ users already on Zoho, growing fairly rapidly.

    Yes, scale economics does apply, but it plays even at our size. Cost per user to scale tends to fall rapidly starting from zero users, and then it flattens out (so the first million user drops the cost very rapidly, while going from 10 to 11 million does not drop the per user cost that much).

    Finally, Zoho's parent AdventNet has been in business 12 years, with profitable, organic growth. From a development perspective, we have demonstrated the ability to execute, and we will continue to put out a steady stream of updates.

    Sridhar

  • http://www.mathewingram.com/work mathewi

    Thanks for pointing all that out, Sridhar — I didn't mean to suggest
    that Zoho was some kind of fly-by-night organization or anything. I
    just think Google is a little bit better known, that's all.

  • http://zoho.com Sridhar Vembu

    Mathew, no question Google has the formidable brand. I didn't take your post negatively either – I actually appreciate your mentioning Zoho! I was just saying (assuring, really!) Zoho is a viable choice against the much bigger Google – because we have a sustainable business model, and sufficient scale to compete. Sort of like how a 50-store chain can often compete against a 5000 store chain, by specializing and differentiating.

    Our key differentiation is richness of features, sharp focus on the needs of demanding business users, and the breadth of product portfolio addressing such needs.

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