Say Hello to Google Presentations
With the release of the highly-anticipated Google Presentations (click New » Presentation), Google is one step closer to becoming a complete online office productivity suite and stealing many of Zoho's users. Similar to Google Docs, Presentations can only do basic things and stays away from animations, sound, video and complex image manipulation. However, the most important feature it lacks is the ability to export PowerPoint files. Google Docs can export .doc files, so hopefully exporting .ppt files for Presentations will come eventually.
As you would expect from the Google Docs suite of tools, Presentations is a collaborative environment. Invite your colleagues and collaboratively build a (basic) presentation. Google Presentations can also display your presentations in a full-screen browser window, although it is not true full screen. You'll notice that on the side of the presentation there is a live chat window which you may invite users (via special URL) to participate in as you're presenting - quite nifty.
I will be using Google Presentations as a substitute for Office for Mac 2004's PowerPoint, which I typically use for viewing presentations from lectures. After importing a .ppt file, Google Presentations is incredibly quick in switching slides. However, I did notice that a few elements on various slides were off compared to how they appeared in Mac PowerPoint - probably a slight OS discrepancy as they were created in Windows.
Google has made remarkable headway with Google Docs, which was launched only 11 months ago. Since then I have become a heavy Google Docs user, primarily because I would rather have important school files online rather than on a 2.5-inch laptop hard drive that could die any day or get rm -rf /'d with my Unix clumsiness. Also, as I get into my more advanced courses, things are considerably group-oriented and Google Docs makes collaboration easy.
Will the addition of Google Presentations to the Google Docs suite make you switch?