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Google Spreadsheets Set To Debut

Google plans on Tuesday to offer a free Web-based spreadsheet to a limited number of users through Google Labs.

Software offered through Google Labs is considered to be "alpha" software, which a Google spokesperson characterized as "very experimental."

The program will be called Google Spreadsheets. In its initial form, it can read and write Microsoft Excel files, but it lacks that program's depth of features. It will however make use of some of Google's other software, such as Google Talk, for online collaboration.

Google Spreadsheets is "[d]esigned for users who create basic spreadsheets that need to be shared or updated by several contributors," Google said in a statement.

Microsoft Office faces a growing number of competitors. In March, Google bought online word processor Writely.

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