Google re-opens online word processor service

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Monday, August 21, 2006

According to published reports and information posted to the website and blog, the service has re-opened its Writely account beta program.

The Writely beta was launched in August 2005, and Google acquired the Writely technology on March 9, 2006. The core Writely service provides a free online collaborative word processor which is widely viewed as an alternative and potential competitor to more traditional locally-run word processing software.

The service has claimed that thousands of people had previously registered for the service exclusively driven by word-of-mouth and the Writely blog. Shortly after being acquired by Google, the company greatly restricted the service and maintained a future customer sign up waiting list.

Writely re-opened its beta service on August 17, 2006. According to the company's blog, the timing of the re-launch was due to a positive product review on CNET combined with persistent email requests asking the service to re-open. Additionally, Writely is planning to make its service available as part of the Google Account sign-in sometime on the near future.

A number of industry sources have speculated on why Google chose to issue a press release on August 17, 2006 touting its involvement in a Star Trek convention and failed to release any information on the Writely beta re-open. While Google has proven reticent to release and publish product information in the past, the lack of any published information for the Writely beta re-open has generated a greater than usual number of web posts and articles addressing the subject.