Disclosure: Central Desktop is a current sponsor.
Central Desktop announced a new online spreadsheets feature, via a collaboration with HongKong-based company Team and Concepts (TnC) Ltd and its EditGrid product. You may remember we profiled EditGrid last week and touted it as 'better than Google Spreadsheets'. We said in that post that EditGrid is a feature-packed app that is best in class, but that it required partnerships with other vendors to be truly successful. Already it's integrated into start pages Netvibes, Pageflakes and Google Personalized Homepage, plus Salesforce AppExchange and several SaaS products and platforms. Now Central Desktop has integrated EditGrid too.Today Web Office company
I spoke with Central Desktop CEO Isaac Garcia to find out more about the partnership. Central Desktop is a collaboration platform, similar to 37Signal's Basecamp. It's focus is on small-to-medium businesses, as an alternative to complex, traditional groupware products such as Microsoft SharePoint and Lotus Notes. Central Desktop has what Isaac referred to as a "team level focus" and its features include collaborative document editing, Web and audio conferencing, discussion threads and versioned file tracking. The addition of EditGrid means that users can also now collaborate on spreadsheets, in real-time within the Central Desktop environment.
What I especially like about this announcement is that it's a great example of how two small 'web 2.0' companies can partner in order to grow. We spoke last month about the partnership between Zoho (a Web Office suite -- n.b. also a R/WW sponsor) and Omnidrive (online storage provider). I'm sure there are other examples, but in this world of best-of-breed web apps it makes total sense for small web companies to partner. It fits with the general Web culture of 'small pieces loosely joined' and is also an effective way for the small companies to compete with giants like Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. The bigcos have the advantage of being able to connect all of their various properties together, so one way for small companies to try and combat that is to join forces. I hope we see a lot more partnerships between small web companies, because it's good for the Web ecosystem to have many successful small companies competing adequately with the big guns.
To investigate that theme further, I asked Issac what advantages Central Desktop / EditGrid combo has over, say, Google Spreadsheets. Isaac said that EditGrid is a real-time technology and essentially an extension of Excel. He said that EditGrid in Central Desktop means it's being used in the context of a fixed workspace, which gives it an advantage over Google Spreadsheets (which is generally used - ironically perhaps, given what I just wrote - in isolation to other Google apps).