I need this, which means you might need it as well.
I need a web-based spreadsheet (like google spreadsheet) or a plug in to Excel that makes it easy to do the following:
Calculate the contents of a field based on info from the web.
For example, let’s say you have a list of 20 brand names. This ‘websheet’ could automatically go to Google and return the URL of the first match of each search in a field right next to the name. Or return the number of Google matches. Or return the RSS feed of the nearest match of a blog on technorati.
Or it could go to Yahoo Finance and automatically look up the current stock price of a ticker symbol.
Or it could take a list of book titles and return the cover art from Amazon.
Once the infrastructure is there, building the particular routines would be a lot of fun for the hackers who are way smarter than me.
If the web is going to be as pervasive as we’ve all been describing it, it needs to get out of the browser and fast. I have no doubt that someone with talent and time could find the pieces necessary to do this, but I wonder why Google didn’t do it already or why someone hasn’t disrupted the spreadsheet market once and for all by offering it as a simple (and possibly free) product.
[PS I got a lot of ideas (Excel, etc.) that weren’t right–too complicated–but then Vivek Puri pointed us to EditGrid. They’re not there yet, it needs more power, but they’re getting close! Thanks, guys.]