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JotSpot melds spreadsheets to Wikis

The Excel spreadsheet is getting an overhaul thanks to the guys who brought you Excite, the pioneering Internet search company.

Jotspot, a builder of applications that enable online collaborative authorship, has introduced a product that combines spreadsheet information with Wikis, a group of Web pages that allow any number of users to add or edit content.

Spreadsheets were created to help with accounting chores, but are now used for everything from tracking employee schedules to planning family reunions. JotSpot CEO Joe Kraus, one of the Excite co-founders, says the JotSpot Tracker can be tailored to allow dozens to edit spreadsheet data or just a few.

"If you share spread sheet information you extend the capabilities well beyond what it is when you keep it private," Kraus said, who helped found the Palo Alto, Calif.-based JotSpot.

In the past, people sharing information on an Excel spreadsheet often would have to exchange copies of their edits and then someone would have to compile all the information onto a master spreadsheet.

JotSpot Tracker allows users to instantly update a spreadsheet, turning it into an interactive Website.

Kraus said the Tracker will go on sale sometime early in 2006.