Writely: A great product with questionable security

For those of you not familiar with Writely, it’s an online beta word processing service that provides the following services:

  1. Create documents online
  2. Upload documents from Word
  3. Publish to the web
  4. Post to your blog
  5. Participate in online collaboration with people you specify

Yes, it’s a great product with fantastic potential.  And now that Google has purchased the company, Upstartle, things could get very interesting.  There is just one catch; there are no safeguards to protect the content of documents during editing or viewing.

On February 27, 2006, in the Writely blog, Jen, an employee of Upstartle, responded to a thread in which users questioned why SSL protection was not provided. 

 [QUOTE=Jen]OK, now I have to reply ;-}

We don’t have SSL definitively planned as part of a premium service, although that’s certainly possible. SSL will definitely slow the service down, which is why we would likely not make it the default in the basic service. Yes, I know this response is vague, but it’s only because our plans are not final![/QUOTE]

As I posted to the Writely blog, it’s irresponsible for an organization to provide a tool like this without any apparent regard for safeguarding the activities of its users.  I hope that Google takes a different approach with this innovative and, in my opinion, much needed service.

 Author:  Tom Olzak

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