I use Google Spreadsheet more as a collaborative database than as a spreadsheet. I looked at Google Base. But it does not have the same level of collaborative features as Google Spreadsheet. It was an amazing experience to have people across continents updating data simultaneously in real time.
Here are some of the things we used it for.
1. I have a contractor in another continent doing some research on schools and adding the list to a Google spreadsheet (a list of schools)
2. I use it as a task list, to track activities on a project. We have this common list of tasks, three of us in three very different places update it with new items, status updates and we have one place to look for information.
3. We use it as a product idea list. We simply divide them into features, design, coding, libraries, testing and put them in one sheet each. Again a common list shared across multiple people.
4. We recently had a reunion. We used it to update who is attending, when they are arriving, any accommodation needs, food preferences etc. About 30+ people had access to the same spreadsheet for updating their one line entry.
5. Finally I am also using it as a way to gather a list of companies, products, people in XML space. My colleague in India updates the spreadsheet based on Google/Yahoo alerts of XML news and I simply add tags and description.
I think the row/column format is great for managing small lists of data. We can add new attributes, sort data in different columns for viewing, etc.
Here are a few features I would like in the Spreadsheet:
- Alerts when the certain types of data is entered or modified (row or content based filters would be great)
- An automatic mechanism to high light changes since you last visited. This will allow me to come in and with one quick glance see what has changed.
- Ability to enter hyperlinks in the cell. Wiki style links and regular URLs would be cool. This will allow me to link to other sheets and external sites.
- A filtered view (where I can specify filters and the view reflects only the rows and columns that match the criteria) and the ability to share the filtered view with others (viewers only).
- Ability to have a rich text format in cells. Some wikiness in cell editing would be an added advantage.
- Google Spreadsheet as a front end to Google Base. There is nothing special about this request. Excel does this fairly elegantly.
- Google Spreadsheet as a front end to XML files (many of Googles own products like Checkout use XML)