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Google Leads Web-Based Productivity Tools

Nielsen//NetRatings announced that Google has been the number one provider of Web-based productivity tools (tools which allow users to work together remotely) since October 2006.

According to Nielsen//NetRatings MegaPanel, the monthly combined unique visitors to Google Docs and Spreadsheets reached 445,762, with an average time spent of 10 minutes per visitor.

This accounted for 92 percent of unique visitors and 95 percent of time spent among providers of Web-based productivity tools that month. Other providers include, EditGrid, Zoho.com, Thinkfree.com, Numsum.com and WriteBoard.

Since October, growth at Google Docs and Spreadsheets has been relatively flat. In November, these Google properties attracted 424,785 unique visitors and 432,156 unique visitors in December. Time per visitor has increased somewhat, from an average of 10 minutes in October to 14 minutes in December.

"Web-based productivity software further extends people's use of the Web browser beyond Web site visitation, and shows how the collaborative power of the Internet is bringing traditionally off-line activities online," said Jon Stewart, senior analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings.

"Google has capitalized on its devoted audience and wide brand recognition to gain traction quickly in this space, but there is clearly a lot of room for growth."

Users of Google Docs and Spreadsheets skew toward higher incomes, with 28 percent of users earning upwards of $100,000 annually. A large majority of users, 76 percent, have an income greater than $50,000 annually.

"Middle Aged Singles" were over twice as likely to use Google Docs as the average Web user. This group includes those between the ages of 35-54 who live in single person households. "New Families" were 69 percent more likely than the average Web user to visit Google Docs. This group includes any household with children all under the age of six.

"Users of Google Docs and Spreadsheets are typical of technology early adopters," said Stewart. They tend to be mature with some disposable income. As more providers of Web-based productivity tools come to market and consumers become familiar with their offerings, we will see the audience broaden to more closely resemble the overall online population.

Eventually, Web-based productivity tools could become as widespread as traditional software from companies like Microsoft, but they clearly have little to fear in the immediate future, given the relatively low penetration numbers that we're seeing.

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