Well, now they have your basic office software package. As of last night, Google has added presentations to Google Docs and Google Apps. For all your PowerPoint users, you can upload your PowerPoint Files. Unfortunately it does not yet support pptx files, the new Office 2007 format. What’s really surprising to me is that ODP files – Open Document Presentation format – is not supported yet, either.
The interface is clean and has the elements you’d expect: A modest toolbar with options for adding, copying and deleting slides, fonts and attributes and paragraph formatting. Google even provides 15 presentation themes right out of the box.
The differentiator for Google is the ability to run the slide show on the Web. You can invite people to participate (share the document), run the slide show (Start Presentation), and it plays – in your browser – with a Google Talk IM hanging out on the right so you can collaborate and annotate.
While all the bells and whistles you get with Microsoft’s product aren’t quite there – you have to admire the power of another desktop application in a browser and wonder at the new realities delivered from the Web 2.0 promise.
Presentations now join the rest of the Google Web-based applications: Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Spreadsheets, Docs, Page Creator (web pages) and Blogs.
While speculation certainly prevails in the industry whether or not Google Apps is ready for enterprise computing, it is most definitely a viable option for schools, non-profits, start-ups and non-computer owners. For the most basic (and even most intermediate) users, all your most fundamental tools are available – for free.
If you have a Web browser, you can sign up for a free Google account and have 2GB of storage for email and documents. If you need more space and can afford $50 per year (a whopping $4.16/month), you can have up to 10GB and lose the ads.
I don’t want to sound like a Google commercial, but you also get the ability to collaborate with others and the services is available anytime using most mobile phones.
The big worry is still the fact that you’re storing all your information on someone else’s computer. How much does the world trust Google to not do evil things? Their mission and corporate policies are clear and straightforward. But will that policy carry on if Larry and Sergey part ways with Google for whatever unforeseen reason?