Google Spreadsheets Edges Out Google Docs in Usage

Google Docs and Spreadsheets has hit a bit of a growth curve since June. About 1.6 million people used the Web-based service in October, compared to 635,000 in June, according to Compete. That is a nice jump, but 1.6 million is still a marginal number compared to the desktop productivity apps (on just about every PC) that it is trying to replace. But, hey, it is still early days.

Notice in the reproduced chart below that Google Spreadsheets seems to be a tad more popular than Google Docs. The same trend is true on average time spent on each app (8 minutes per month for Spreadsheets, versus 6 minutes for Docs). For right now, I think that online Spreadsheets are the more compelling app. I use Google Spreadsheets on occasion to organize conferences and such, but have yet to write anything on Google Docs other than to test out the service.

I think that is because the utility of these services is as a collaboration tool and spreadsheets offer a way to structure information that lends itself to that type of usage. For documents, it is more often a read-only experience, for which e-mailing the document still works. If I do need to collaborate on a document, I do it in an online editor that is also a publishing system (WordPress).

Beyond these numbers, what I’d like to see is a comparison to other online productivity apps from Zoho, Glide (which recently came out with a spreadsheet that works offline and syncs to the Web), and others.

Update: Ask and ye shall receive. Compete sent me comparable numbers for Zoho, Officelive, and Thinkfree, and Zimbra. (see second chart below). Google Docs and Spreadsheets dominates on monthly uniques. For November 2007, it had 1.6 million, versus 133,000 for Zoho, 168,000 for Officelive (which really isn’t a competing product yet), 46,000 for Zimbra (also not fully comparable since that is an e-mail client mostly), and 18,000 for Thinkfree. On a more apples-to-apples comparison, Zoho Writer had 31,000 unique visitors in November, versus 677,000 for Google Docs alone. Zoho Sheets had 12,000 users versus 694,000 for Google Spreadsheets. So even Google is leading by a mile here.

But Google cannot sit on its haunches. When you look at pageviews, Officelive, which is still a joke (although that will be changing soon), actually beats Google Docs with 4.8 million versus 3.5 million for November. Google Spreadsheets had 7.5 million pageviews, and Google Docs and Spreadsheets (including Presentations) had 17.3 million. (See third chart below, followed by a table with the corresponding pageview numbers).