Lately, I seem to be getting more invites to view a Google (GOOG) document (rather than a Word document). I guess I’m not surprised though. It has been just over a year since Google Docs and Spreadsheets was officially released, and it has been just under a year since Microsoft (MSFT) released Office 2007. As many know, Office 2007 includes a whole new interface that is unfamiliar, and potentially frustrating, to the veteran Office user. Google Docs and Spreadsheets have also undergone changes, with a major user interface overhaul in June and the release of Google Presentation in September. After receiving my 4th invitation to view a Google document in 2 weeks, I decided to take a look at traffic to Google Docs and Spreadsheets, since its bundled release in October 2006*. The chart below depicts overall traffic to Google Docs and Spreadsheets, and includes the break down of those that viewed a document and those that viewed a spreadsheet.
This chart shows us three things.
1. The user interface overhaul and subsequent intense marketing in June seems to have ignited traffic to Google Docs and Spreadsheets.
2. Usage of Google Docs is consistently comparable with usage of Google Spreadsheets.
3. In its first full year, Google Docs and Spreadsheets has seen an 84% year-over-year increase.
After looking at the traffic, I wanted to go a little deeper in analysis. Another measure of a site’s success is the average stay on that site, defined as time spent per visit (in minutes).
Here we see that while traffic to Google Docs and Spreadsheets may be comparable, Google Spreadsheets originally saw much higher attention than Google Docs. Attention evened out when traffic increased in June, suggesting that people are not only viewing both Google documents and Google spreadsheets, but are equally engaged with each. Increased engagement indicates that people intend to continue to use these applications, and they are not novelties.
I expect this trend to continue, and the growth of Google Docs and Spreadsheets to be substantial. Google Docs and Spreadsheets are free and easy to use. In addition, they offer online sharing and collaboration, which is becoming a complete necessity in today’s workplace. The more people share links to their documents, the more people will be exposed to Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Google doesn’t have to do much, as Docs and Spreadsheets are viral by nature and should continue to spread. Google can move on to saving the world (such as with this project), while users continue to spread the news about a possible alternative to Office 2007.
*Google Spreadsheets was released in June 2006, but then bundled with the Google Documents release in September.