Written by Gang Lu and Richard MacManus
EditGrid, the main product of HongKong-based company Team and Concepts (TnC) Ltd., is a leading Web 2.0 online spreadsheet service that focuses on online collaboration and interoperability. Having had 1 year of development and 9 months of public beta with 18 beta releases, yesterday EditGrid officially announced its subscription service and removed the beta tag from its site. We spoke with TnC's founder and Chairman, David Lee, a brilliant young man who was recently nominated by BusinessWeek as one of Asia's Best Entrepreneurs under 25. Also in this post we outline EditGrid's main features and discuss why it's better than Google Spreadsheets.
The online spreadsheet market is crowded and the big players include Google Spreadsheets (as part of Google Docs & Spreadsheets), Zoho Sheet (as part of the Zoho Office Suite -- disclosure, Zoho is a R/WW sponsor), WikiCalc (a part of SocialText), ThinkFree Calc (as part of Thinkfree Office). But EditGrid is the only standalone online spreadsheet offering.
Features and comparison with Google Spreadsheets
EditGrid boasts real-time-update (RTU), allowing users to see changes immediately when someone is editing the same spreadsheet, and extensive collaboration features. It has a feature called Remote data, which fetches data from the web (e.g. stock information and foreign exchange data) and puts it into a spreadsheet. Also EditGrid has many more functions available than Google Spreadsheet - EditGrid has over 500 functions (like SUM () etc), whereas Google Spreadsheet has 230+; at least according to this EditGrid comparison of EditGrid to Goog Spreadsheets and MS Excel 2003.
David Lee told us that although they are not the full solution to Web Office, in terms of offering a suite of products, they think that EditGrid is a better standalone spreadsheet product than its competition. However we think partnerships and integration into other products is going to be key to their success.
We were particularly impressed by the toolbox and charts (see the screenshot below). The document-sharing, live chats, etc., are also very impressive. There are really too many features to list here, but check out the full product tour if interested. Also EditGrid's development team maintains a very informative changelog and future plan.
EditGrid intergrated into other products
With its agile architecture that facilitates integration and embedding into enterprise application platforms, strong data manipulation and distribution capabilities and high usability, EditGrid is ideal for integrating into existing platforms. Right now EditGrid is integrated into start pages Netvibes, Pageflakes and Google Personalized Homepage. It is also integrated into Salesforce AppExchange and several SaaS products and platforms. [Ed: there is also going to be announcement early next week of another Web Office vendor using EditGrid - stay tuned to R/WW for that news]
Some other facts and figures... With its EditGrid Localization Project, EditGrid has been translated into 9 languages by its users. It has 15,000+ registered personal users from 30+ countries, 200+ trial organizations and 4,500+ trial organization users have created +23,000 spreadsheets.
David Lee told us that personal users can still enjoy free service, but they have a new subscription service that allows organizations to utilize EditGrid - which has added security, administration and customization features. It is $5 per user per month, and academic and non-profit organizations get a 50% discount.
It's great to see innovative Web Office technology coming out of Asia and taking on the big guns in the US. EditGrid is indeed an excellent standalone product, in many respects better than Google Spreadsheets. If it successfully partners with existing platforms (e.g. start pages and Salesforce), then it stands a good chance of competing with the Office Suite offerings of Google, Zoho, ThinkFree et al. In a sense, EditGrid takes the 'best-of-breed' theory of Web apps even further - by creating a specialist Web Office app that is best in class, but also requires partnerships with other vendors to be truly successful.