Google seems set to improve its Google Spreadsheets application by hiring the founders of iRows, a browser-based spreadsheet service.

A posting to the iRows blog confirms that Israeli service iRows will shut down on 31 December and that the company's founders will join Google.

Google confirmed it has hired iRows founders Yoah Bar-David and Itai Raz and that they will work in Google's Tel Aviv and Haifa research and development centres.

In June, Google introduced Google Spreadsheets, a web-based offering that lets users create and share spreadsheets and documents online, without using a software program like Excel. The offering was developed based on Google's acquisition of 2Web Technologies, a company that specialised in online information sharing technology.

At the time of the Google Spreadsheet service launch, there was some speculation that Google had bought iRows to create the offering. That company's founders revealed that Google's launch, though unrelated to iRows, drove more traffic to iRows than its servers could handle, presumably from people interested in other existing online spreadsheet offering. While iRows admitted that the Google offering has some more features than its own, iRows has some capabilities that Google's lacks.

When iRows closes, all data from user spreadsheets will be deleted. IRows explains how customers can transport their spreadsheets to Google Spreadsheets. Customers won't be able to transfer charts, however, because they aren't supported by Google Spreadsheets. Some iRows users complained in postings on the blog about having to sign up to a Google account in order to use Google Spreadsheets.

Google's spreadsheet offering also competes with AdventNet's Zoho online spreadsheet and document offering and Team and Concepts's EditGrid.