Is Google working on Office applications?

A story on The Register’s site suggests that Google are thinking far beyond search engine technology, and may be looking to build web-enabled Office-type software (eg, word processing, spreadsheet functionality etc).

Chris DiBona, Google’s mananger for open source programs, stated that they are looking to hire people to help improving the open source Office alternative, OpenOffice. It is possible that Google employees have already been contributing effort to OpenOffice.

This is an interesting move, because this week, Gates annouced his vision for the direction of Microsoft Office entering the ‘live-era’, refering to the inclusion of live internet data feeds into Microsoft Office products. ‘Windows Live’ and ‘Office Live’ will also reintroduce the concept of web-enabled and web-delivered software by subscription, using the ‘download what you need’ type deployment model.

Will Google and Microsoft go head-to-head in this market space with competing products?

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