Google Docs, a Web-based platform for creating, sharing, storing, and publishing documents, has offered capabilities for word processing and creating spreadsheets, but has been missing a major piece of the Microsoft Office puzzle -- until now. On Monday, Google added business presentation software , the element that many analysts said was preventing the Web-based office suite from contending with Office on a larger scale .
Google's business presentation software attempts to answer Microsoft's PowerPoint with a Web-based twist. The application lets users create simple Web-based presentations that coworkers can update and view from their own computers.
"From student groups to sales teams, people are turning to the Web for help improving both personal and group productivity," Sam Schillace, director of engineering for Google Docs, said in a statement. "Putting documents in the cloud surrounded by easy-to-use features for collaboration and sharing can save people hours of inefficiency and frustration and even enable new ways of working together."
Natural Addition to Docs
The way Google sees it, presentations are a natural addition for Google Docs because they are usually created with the intention of being shared. Web-based, collaborative presentations eliminate the need for users to manage and compile group members' input in separate attachments, and make it possible for multiple users to view a set of slides while a moderator controls the presentation.
"Most people don't make presentations for themselves. So it wouldn't be like a document you would use as a record or a spreadsheet. Presentations are inherently documents intended to be shared," said Paul DeGroot, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft. "If Microsoft is correct that collaboration is a key driver, then solutions like Google Docs may be a better fit for many organizations."
A demo Google posted on YouTube illustrates the new application in action. The business presentation features are still in simple, early stages, the company admitted, but the Google Docs team is making them available now. Google said updates and improvements will continue to roll out over the coming months.
But right out of the virtual box, Google's business presentation software offers many capabilities. Users can create and keep presentations in one place on the Web that is accessible anytime, from any Internet-connected computer . (continued...)