Google shared some information about its upcoming changes and improvements to Google Apps. One of the new things we can expect in 2008 is Google Sites, this will be based on JotSpot's tools and will replace Google Page Creator.
Another thing the search giant is working on is offline support for its Google Docs, Gmail and Calendar applications via Google Gears. Tech Crunch has some more info about Google's ideas for 2008:
Google Sites: Scheduled to be launched sometime next year (2008), Google Sites will expand upon the Google Page Creator already offered within Apps. Based on JotSpot collaboration tools, Sites will allow business to set up intranets, project management tracking, customer extranets, and any number of custom sites based on multi-user collaboration.
Will users be able to edit docs, spreadsheets and presentation offline? Scott’s answer was yes, and that the Google Gears plugin would handle the offline work. In addition, Google Gears support is in the works for Gmail and Google Calendar.
What happens when somebody edits a document offline at the same time another user is editing the online version? The same algorithm that reconciles simultaneous editing will apply here when the offline version is merged back into the online version. Changes will be versioned the same way, so basically in chronological order.
Will Google docs have OCR capabilities for importing .pdfs or other graphical files? Not yet, but perhaps someday. Scott couldn’t comment on the “roadmap” for future enhancements. However, the collaborative Google Sites (based on JotSpot) will allow for upload and storage of any file type.
Will GrandCentral be integrated into Google Apps? If so, when? Again, Scott didn’t comment on the timing but said they are working on it and it is a “huge priority” for them.
Will Google Spreadsheets ever have advanced features like pivot tables, macros or offline database integrations? (This was actually my question) Scott said they are constantly trying to find the balance between speed and utility. It will never be a heavy duty analytics program because that would be too heavy and bulky for the average user.
Will Google Apps support video conferencing in addition to Google Talk and Chat? Scott’s answer, “Not yet”. I got the impression from his body language that it’ll come someday, but nothing more was said.