Scott Hanselman

Google Presentations is out

September 18, '07 Comments [7] Posted in Reviews
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Fooling with Google Presentations - Windows Internet Explorer Google updated their Applications suite today with the addition of Google Presentation. It was added to all of docs.google.com including Google Apps For Your Domain, which is what I use for the family's docs.

It's good to know it's there if I might need it, but I'd probably just use Notepad if I needed to present in a pinch.

Cool Things

  • It initially LOOKS just like PowerPoint!
  • You can start a presentation then give folks a URL and they can join up and watch like this: View Presentation.
  • You can chat about the presentation being watched.
  • Great Revisions support - many copies are saved all the time, so you'll never lose anything.
  • Upload a PPT
  • Save as a ZIP file! They'll create a "self-contained" ZIP with a single HTML file and the assets you need to run the presentation using any browser, also Eric Meyer's S5, except with less-pretty auto-generated markup.

Meh Things

  • Can't link to pictures online, have to upload. It would be been cool to allow links to Flickr or Google Photos but that would mess up the whole "self contained" offline story.
  • No spellcheck?
  • No animations, shapes, auto-layouts, wizards, etc.
  • No line spacing? Makes bulleted lists look odd and hard to lay out.
  • Does as little as it can without actually being Notepad.exe
  • It's cool, to be clear, but it's ultra-basic. If you're interested in a PowerPoint-like experience on the web, I'd either use PowerPoint's Save As Html feature (maybe you bought a $60 copy of Office! Insane!) or take a good look at Eric Meyer's S5 XHTML Presentation System (sample).
  • JavaScript errors and other rough spots, particularly when trying to add Hyperlinks to Images.
  • You can upload PPT, but you can't Save As PPT.

It's a nice addition to Google Docs, but the flagship product is still Google Spreadsheets, in my opinion.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Tuesday, 18 September 2007 13:50:37 UTC
This is crying out for offline google gears support. I wouldn't use it until thats there.
Harry M
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 14:13:16 UTC
Yes, feature light. But it's about the collaboration and sharing w/ google docs, not the feature list. Multiple people working on the same doc at the same time is a new way to work. Try it with a friend next time you have a remote situation but need to create a doc together.
sandlion
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 14:50:24 UTC
Docs and spreadsheets, fine, but if you can't guarantee presentation software is going to be available when you come to present, I'd say its useless.
Harry M
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 15:42:58 UTC
Primitive at best. I expect better out of google. It really seems they are taking the Microsoft roadmap..."Provide a 60% solution" for now. Becuz in the end google will own you. I'm not impressed at all.
James
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 20:32:15 UTC
In other news, Google bought Zenter a short while ago. It was a Y Combinator startup designing, you guessed, a web-based (Python I presume) slide presentation creator with sharing and collaboration features.

IMHO, the key to why Google chose Zenter, and why they're OK with delivering a barely implemented presentation application - is the sharing and collaboration capabilities. It seems, for now at least, that's the primary thing Google cares about. Well, that, and if it's written in Python.

The folks at Y Combinator must have some pretty good Google connections because I had never heard of Zenter. I'm not even sure it ever went live.
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 22:17:26 UTC
Sorry, but SlideRocket (developed by a former coworker of mine) at http://www.sliderocket.com/productTour.html completely blows this Google app out of the water. Warning: don't watch the preview if you ever want to be able to use Google Presentations (though SlideRocket is not yet publicly available, unfortunately).
Wednesday, 19 September 2007 23:45:02 UTC
Thanks for your evaluation...I hadn't noticed a few of the "Meh's." Glad I read them on your blog rather than come across them while creating a critical deck!

You'd think saving as PPT would be a given...any idea's on how to convert to PPT format?
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.