In a recently released study by the NPD Group, it seems that if you know of Google Docs, you’re in a fairly exclusive club. If you use it, you’re even more elite.
Nearly 600 computer users were asked in a recent survey if they had ever heard of browser-based productivity apps such as Google Docs. Of the respondents, 6 % said they had, and had try it, but only .5% said they had replaced their desktop-based office tools with online ones. Another 20% said they had heard of them, but not tried them yet.
While some are quick to say this means the whole product category is dead, others point out that this is a fairly new product, and it is unfair to declare it dead so soon. The latter is probably closer to the mark as Google Docs and Spreadsheets only officially became a merged product in October of 2006, and already the list of companies choosing to use these services is growing.
While the study was of computer users, BLORGE.com could not locate what level of computer users were being surveyed. Were they your sweet Aunt Petunia who barely knows how to turn the computer on, or were they power users who live in front of their terminals 24/7?
As Mathew Ingram, of mathewingram.com, points out:
Does anyone remember when no one had ever heard of Firefox? I do. It’s still a relatively small proportion of the browsers out there, but it’s growing. Anyone remember when Facebook was virtually unknown outside university campuses? I do.
And he is 100% correct. To declare an entire product category that is only 1 – 2 years old “dead” is silly.
Online office suites are still in their infancy, and are still learning to walk, in a couple of more years, it would be very interesting to revisit this study.