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Google To Add Presentations 184

Posted by kdawson
from the looking-office-like dept.
A number of readers (some from the audience at Web 2.0 Expo) wrote to let us know that Google is adding presentations to their Docs and Spreadsheets package. With the announcement the company revealed that they have purchased Tonic Systems to help with the new presentation software. It's expected to be ready by summer. Google's CEO Eric Schmidt was asked if Docs and Spreadsheets will compete with MS Office, and he said, "We don't think so. It doesn't have all the functionality, nor is it intended to have the functionality of products like Microsoft Office."
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Google To Add Presentations

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  • Won't work (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:00PM (#18775893)
    99% of the time most people use the "standard" features of MSOffice. GOffice will be fine with this. Unfortunately, for the 1%, everyone uses a different piece of advanced functionality and get annoyed that THEIR pet feature is missing. Good to have an alternative with intarwebbiness built in though I guess.
    • Re:Won't work (Score:5, Interesting)

      by cmacb (547347) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @09:39PM (#18776841) Homepage Journal
      The question is, once large organizations figure out (if they are actually interested in saving money let's say) that this one percent phenomena exists, how valuable will it be for them to buy everyone in the organization a $200+ piece of software "just in case" they need it?

      The more appropriate response will be for Office to be looked upon in the same way that a compiler is, something that just a few people, specialists, need to have a copy of, while everyone else can make use of much simpler web-based alternatives.

      As people start to use "Google Office" at home for its ease of sharing documents, etc, the same argument that made Office a standard will start to apply to Google Apps: "Hey, all these people right out of school already know Google Apps, let's just standardized on that so we don't have to teach them Office".

      I don't think I've run MS Office in three years, and my use of Open Office is starting to fall off quite a bit as I just load things people send me into Google Docs from the get-go. I'm also noticing that the only thing I'm storing on my PCs are music files and photos, with more and more photos being stored online as well. This is great!
      • The more appropriate response will be for Office to be looked upon in the same way that a compiler is, something that just a few people, specialists, need to have a copy of, while everyone else can make use of much simpler web-based alternatives.

        You can compile code online, and most people really don't need to do otherwise?

        *feels disconnected from the modern world*
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by suv4x4 (956391)
        You're making some huge mistakes. First, the cost of office software is nothing for a corporation, compared to its other expenses (taxes, salaries, hardware, office bills and so on and so on).

        Second, those Google Apps are suitable for some purposes, but for heavy or advanced usage, they're totally unfit. So far we're looking at a bunch of online toys trying to pretend they're Office. They will replace Office exactly as the "web OS" sites will replace Windows.

        Third, if a company is desperate to save from lic
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Serpent Mage (95312)

          You're making some huge mistakes. First, the cost of office software is nothing for a corporation, compared to its other expenses (taxes, salaries, hardware, office bills and so on and so on).

          Second, those Google Apps are suitable for some purposes, but for heavy or advanced usage, they're totally unfit. So far we're looking at a bunch of online toys trying to pretend they're Office. They will replace Office exactly as the "web OS" sites will replace Windows.

          1) for the larger companies this is correct. in f

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          You're making some huge mistakes. First, the cost of office software is nothing for a corporation, compared to its other expenses (taxes, salaries, hardware, office bills and so on and so on).

          I disagree. The cost of software for a company includes the cost of licensing, license management, maintenance, file transfer, the potential cost of license noncompliance, and support. Google docs mitigates more than just the flat license cost. These savings may not be considered significant and inefficient bureaucracies in large, american companies will probably resist the change for a long time, but that is not the same thing as the cost itself being nothing.

          Now consider smaller companies that don't ha

        • You're making some huge mistakes. First, the cost of office software is nothing for a corporation, compared to its other expenses (taxes, salaries, hardware, office bills and so on and so on).

          $200 saved per employee is $200 saved. Big corporations are as sensitive to that as little corporations.

          Second, those Google Apps are suitable for some purposes, but for heavy or advanced usage, they're totally unfit.

          Neither is Microsoft Office; Microsoft Office is merely bloated and slow. Most people don't know what
    • by EnsilZah (575600)
      Could be easily solved if Google offered a good API and mechanism for importing plugins.
      Missing some features? Check if there are open source plugins or maybe some closed source ones that you can buy for micropayments.
      • Easier said... (Score:3, Informative)

        by encoderer (1060616)
        That's a lot easier said than done.

        I don't know if you've actually USED Docs but the last time I did--about 2-3 weeks ago--it didn't even have find & replace capability. All it had was "replace all" and even that had "experimental" warnings all over it and couldn't be undone.

        So saying "All they need is a good API and a mechanism for plugins" when they can't even do find & replace is just a little silly, in my opinion.

        Maybe. In about 2 years. At the earliest.
        • by jrockway (229604)
          Your post doesn't make sense. "They can't implement a feature that could be implemented as a plugin, so plugins are a bad idea."

          What?
          • Time to take a class on reading comprehension, bro... Seriously. If you're going to be a fanboy shill, at least try to make sense.

            1. You put quotes around something that certainly wasn't a quote. You do realize they're called "quotation marks" for a reason, right?
            2. I didn't say plugins are a bad idea
            3. I didn't say that they CAN'T implement find & replace

            So basically, you misunderstood, it seems, each and every sentence I wrote.

            Are you always this dense or do you save it all for us on slashdot?
  • Quick! (Score:2, Funny)

    by twenex27 (1004369)
    Remove the chairs from the building!
  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Impeesa (763920) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:04PM (#18775943)
    They wanted to offer a new product, and bought a company to do so? Isn't that sort of a Microsoft thing?
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:12PM (#18776023)
      It is a business thing.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sancho (17056) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:26PM (#18776187) Homepage
      Depends.

      If you want to start offering a product or service, and it's going to cost you more to develop that product/service than to buy a company which already offers it, the choice is obvious.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:30PM (#18776215) Homepage Journal
      Only if they buy them to remove them from competing.
      Otherwise it's a sound business move.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bongo Bill (853669) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:32PM (#18776241) Homepage
      The reason Microsoft is so rich is because that strategy works. It should be no surprise that Google behaves similarly.
      • by PMuse (320639)
        I, for one, welcome our similarly-behaving, strategically-sound technological co-Overlords.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MadnessASAP (1052274)
      No, Buying a company that is already in a market your going into is business. Then buying/suing every other company trying to get into or currently in the market is a Microsoft move.
    • That's where Google Docs came from, too. And Picasa. And Google Earth. It's a pretty Google thing too, which makes all the flak MS catches for it pretty funny.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by quickgold192 (1014925)
      A lot of Google's products were previous companies: Google Docs: Writley Google Earth: Keyhole Picasa: Picasa Google Sketch up: Sketch Up I'm sure I've missed some but I'm sure you get it.
    • I never used seriously one of those fancy AJAX softare for more than 10 minues (except Google Maps) and my feeling was that even on a decent PC they are sluggishly slow, and lacking a lot of features. Now I read in many places that Google is a real contender for the office applications and I do not understand how that can be possible beside the mail.

      It reminds me 1997 when we were supposed to have Corel Office in java: There was such a discrepancy between what I could read in the news and the true experie

    • by CandyMan (15493)
      For a big company, buying a smaller company that produces something they want is not only an acquisition, it is also recruitment. Google have messed up in the past (see Google, Dodgeball) but they have also got some of them right (Writely, Google Analytics). Business as usual, nothing to see here.
    • by pikine (771084)

      Buying companies isn't just a Microsoft thing. Why do you think many dot-com boomers have this startup dream that they want to start a company only to be later bought by bigger companies and become instantly rich?

      What Microsoft practices this differently is that they often buy competitors and then dismantle it with no intention of acquisition of technology or talent, just so it no longer competes.

  • Lazy employees (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TodMinuit (1026042) <todminuit@gPARISmail.com minus city> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:05PM (#18775951)
    With the announcement the company revealed that they have purchased Tonic Systems to help with the new presentation software.

    What exactly do Google employees do all day? Count money, play pool, and ride Segways?

    Furthermore, if this cannot export to PDF or PowerPoint, it's pretty much useless. When giving presentations, Internet access is rarely provided or is flakey at best.
    • Export to ODF. I suspect one of the billion or so people who don't think Office is God's Gift to Whomever will figure out how to go ODF->pdf, or ->flash, or ->DHTML, or something even better.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by SheeEttin (899897)
        Interestingly, I recently noticed that my school has installed OpenOffice(.org) on all the computers--but the shortcuts only appear on teachers' desktops.

        At least I don't have to convert to MS' .doc format any more. Just tell them to open it in this "OpenOffice.org thing".
      • by misleb (129952)
        So you export to ODF and convert to PDF.... with what? OpenOffice? Why not do the presentation in OpenOffice in teh first place and have a much richer presentation?

        -matthew
    • Re:Lazy employees (Score:5, Informative)

      by Matt Perry (793115) <perry,matt54&yahoo,com> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:18PM (#18776097)

      Furthermore, if this cannot export to PDF or PowerPoint, it's pretty much useless. When giving presentations, Internet access is rarely provided or is flakey at best.
      I'm sure it'll export to both. I've been using Google Docs and the word processor can export to HTML, RTF, MS Word, OpenOffice Writer, and PDF. The Google spreadsheet can export to CSV, HTML, OpenOffice Calc, PDF, plain text, and MS Excel.
    • PDF doesn't always cut it as one often uses animations.

      • Re:Lazy employees (Score:5, Insightful)

        by brilinux (255400) <(ten.lrra) (ta) (kxq4gk)> on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @09:04PM (#18776525) Homepage Journal
        But we do not yet have the technology to have computers electricute or shoot people who want to use animations in presentations, so the best that the programmers can do is disallow the presentations from being exported to filetypes that allow animations, hence pdf.
        • by suv4x4 (956391)
          But we do not yet have the technology to have computers electricute or shoot people who want to use animations in presentations, so the best that the programmers can do is disallow the presentations from being exported to filetypes that allow animations, hence pdf.

          The problem isn't in animation, but in poor utility. People say they hate absolutely every site that uses Flash, "Flash garbage!" and then go to watch the latest videos on YouTube.
          • ... which is a silly use of flash anyway, and only necessitated by the lack of a set of a good quality standard video codecs.
            Still could be done better in applets anyway.
            • by suv4x4 (956391)
              .. which is a silly use of flash anyway, and only necessitated by the lack of a set of a good quality standard video codecs.
              Still could be done better in applets anyway.


              Yea, it's much better apparently to decode with a bytecode decoder written in Java (a 20MB runtime) vs a light binary decoder in Flash (1 MB runtime).

              You should jump and do your own YouTube right now.
              • I find it amusing you are complaining about the size of the JVM given until recently many people were routinely spawning an applet per hover button (yes, stupid people). Still was treated as completely normal, and isn't like people don't already have it on their machine, probably already spawned. Heck, until recently, it was more likely to run successfully on all platforms.
                Why handicap one's self with flash?

                Oh, and:
                $ ls -lh /opt/netscape/plugins/libflashplayer.so
                -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 6.8M 2007-01-19 14:2
                • by suv4x4 (956391)
                  I find it amusing you are complaining about the size of the JVM given until recently many people were routinely spawning an applet per hover button (yes, stupid people). Still was treated as completely normal

                  Excuse me but why exactly do we take as a reference what do stupid people consider for "normal"?

                  Oh, and:
                  $ ls -lh /opt/netscape/plugins/libflashplayer.so
                  -rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 6.8M 2007-01-19 14:21 /opt/netscape/plugins/libflashplayer.so.

                  Not sure where you are getting the 1M runtime from.


                  You're really go
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Darkforge (28199)
        PDF doesn't always cut it as one often uses animations.

        Sadly, and disturbingly, PDF files can do animations [uoregon.edu].
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by UtucXul (658400)

        PDF doesn't always cut it as one often uses animations.

        I use animations in pdfs (made from LaTeX) for all my presentations [umd.edu]. pdfanim [uni-bremen.de] is pretty damned reliable. Sadly the results don't quite work with xpdf at the moment, but Acrobat or Acrobat Reader have been available for every talk I've given.

    • Re:Lazy employees (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ampathee (682788) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:23PM (#18776141)
      I'd like to see it use the s5 [meyerweb.com] format - then it could be saved as html+css.
      Take a look at the introductory presentation [meyerweb.com] - it's pretty neat especially considering it's all standard html+css+js.
      • S5 is very handy (Score:2, Interesting)

        by DusterBar (881355)

        I have used S5 for my presentations for a while now, and mainly for two reasons:

        1. I almost always have an internet connection (or network connection) and thus can get at any of the presentations I need. I also can let the viewers see the presentation any time they want - just need that browser...
        2. The ability to have both the printed and presentation form in one simple text document is so nice. Editing, updating, version control, etc. is just so much easier. And with the document being usable by all us
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Petrushka (815171)

      Furthermore, if this cannot export to PDF or PowerPoint, it's pretty much useless.

      Where does the information that it can't export to PDF or PowerPoint format come from? I can't find that in TFA. Google Documents and Spreadsheets can certainly export to MS Office, OpenDocument, PDF and other formats, so it would certainly surprise me if this couldn't too.

      • The point is that presentation software is different from word processing. You need the program to be local on your computer so that you can make the presentation, in someone else's office, and without access to the net. For this to be useful, at the very least, google will have to make the slideshow part of this program available to live on your local PC. Maybe something analogous to Adobe Reader.

        I do training frequently and use powerpoint as one of my tools. The laptop that I use most often doesn't
    • What exactly do Google employees do all day? Count money, play pool, and ride Segways?
      They don't hire the best graduates to do trivial things like make office suites :P. There are programmer drones to do that kinda stuff. Besides, the concept is so old now that the last ounce of novelty has been squeezed out of it. It would be like hiring a Beethoven to write elevator muzak :D.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573)
      From what I understand from rumors heard before the departure of Dennis and Alex, formally of Google's Dodgeball [dodgeball.com], they are tied up in endless meetings and conference calls rather than having the opportunity to work on their project.
    • by LoudMusic (199347)

      When giving presentations, Internet access is rarely provided or is flakey at best.

      I disagree. Anyone who comes to my company to present gets internet access. And practically every time my people have gone somewhere else they're provided internet access. And if there is a computer in the presentation center already it most likely will have internet access.

      That doesn't mean that this product doesn't need export capabilities, I'm just arguing against your internet comment (:

    • Re:Lazy employees (Score:4, Informative)

      by glwtta (532858) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @11:28PM (#18777669) Homepage
      Furthermore, if this cannot export to PDF or PowerPoint, it's pretty much useless.

      Yeah, and if it doesn't let you type the letter "e", that will be bad too. Also, it shouldn't give you cancer - I think it would be bad if it gave you cancer.
    • by enomar (601942)
      Uh, they're working on this [google.com].
    • by blamanj (253811)
      What exactly do Google employees do all day?

      Exactly what Microsoft has been planning for them to do for all these years. The people who write presentation code are working around bugs in IE; the people who write backend stuff are working around bugs in Outlook, Word, Excel, etc.; and the people who do apps are working around bugs in XP/Vista.

      Microsoft doesn't introduce bugs because they're sloppy, it's a business strategy to keep there competitors occupied while they "innovate."
  • I don't get it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geek (5680) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:12PM (#18776029) Homepage
    First Apple says they don't want their office app to compete with MSOffice, now Google says they don't want to compete with MSOffice. When will someone man up and compete? OpenOffice is nice but it has a HUGE number of flaws still. We NEED competition here.
    • First Apple says they don't want their office app to compete with MSOffice, now Google says they don't want to compete with MSOffice.

      This is only their way of saying MSOffice is no longer relevant, that's all.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by archen (447353)
      You mean like Corel Office, or the dozens of other Office Suite carcases left by the roadside in application history? MS has a stranglehold on the entire market right now. As soon as someone brings up Open Office everyone bitches about quirks with importing MS formats - comparisons on its own merits are usually secondary. The reality is that with Microsoft's position, everyone tries to carve out a nitch as best they can and hope that MS doesn't bundle something that further expands its reach.
    • by LoudMusic (199347)

      First Apple says they don't want their office app to compete with MSOffice, now Google says they don't want to compete with MSOffice. When will someone man up and compete? OpenOffice is nice but it has a HUGE number of flaws still. We NEED competition here.
      By not declaring that they are competing they can not fail to compete. Truth is, their product has the same end result as the Microsoft product - they are competing.
    • by suv4x4 (956391)
      First Apple says they don't want their office app to compete with MSOffice, now Google says they don't want to compete with MSOffice. When will someone man up and compete? OpenOffice is nice but it has a HUGE number of flaws still. We NEED competition here.

      Because none of them is ready to compete with Office yet. We've seen our share of "Linux takes over Windows this year!" claims, and they've all been forgotten, and lately even laughed at.

      It doesn't mean they aren't gearing up to compete with Office.
    • by hey! (33014)
      Step back, take a deep breath.

      Nobody in his right mind are going to take on MS in the office apps market. They own the file formats. They own the APIs. If you watch what MS does and try to outmaneuver them, you will lose because they have much more favorable moves open to them than you.

      On the other hand, you can find and exploit a niche MS is weak in. Instead of playing three games of simultaneous chess with them, you play one. In the short term, you can win in a limited way. In the long time, your goa
  • by vistic (556838) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:31PM (#18776225)
    I use the TonicPoint Viewer for Mac instead of OpenOffice or Powerpoint... it has way fewer troubles with fonts. If I open a Windows PowerPoint presentation in Mac PowerPoint, I usually end up seeing weird characters instead of bullets in lists... and equations with greek letters, etc. are almost always messed up.

    So at least now I believe Google Presently will be a decent product.
    • So at least now I believe Google Presently will be a decent product.
      man.. Google has been a decent product for like a decade now.

      -metric
  • by not already in use (972294) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @08:42PM (#18776333)
    ...And it wouldn't be hard. Just use an existing OSS database as the back-end solution (mySQL, PostgreSQL comes to mind) and then create a front-end that makes it easy for the layperson to set up tables and create queries, forms and reports. Considering the resources Google has at hand, this wouldn't be too difficult and would have a free stable core already available to them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by misleb (129952)
      The LAST thing this world needs is an even more available Access-like product. It is amazing what kidn of abominations "laypeople" can come up with given these kinds of tools. And then they start relying on them. And then you have to support them... and perhaps try to export their hideous data structures into something else more sane later. That is IF you can manage to pry the tool from their cold, dead hands. No way, man. Lets keep some things difficult. There are just some things that should be left to pr
  • Odd, everyone here is so certain that GOffice will compete with MS Office. Competition is needed here, but I'm not amused. Surely someone has an explanation? I've been TERRIBLY deceived by all of you!
  • by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @09:11PM (#18776585)
    I would have to see ads for competitors show up during presentation of my product.
  • Didn't we already decide that Powerpoint was bad for learning [slashdot.org]?

    Evidently, Google doesn't read our beloved /.
  • Google Office Ajax13 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by popo (107611) on Tuesday April 17, 2007 @09:31PM (#18776779) Homepage
    I know Google has the public relations dollars, but one would think on Slashdot we'd be discussing
    the many (IMHO far better) online office suites. I have a hard time looking at Google Docs
    and thinking anyone would find it compares to say "Ajax13" ( http://www.ajax13.com/ [ajax13.com] ) or other
    independent offerings.

    Likewise, Google's webtop pales in comparison to far slicker applications like DesktopTwo
    ( http://www.desktoptwo.com/ [desktoptwo.com] ). -- which by the way uses a web based java version of OpenOffice
    which is also slicker than any of Google's office apps.

    I'm all for "free" and "freely distributed" web applications replacing the MS Office tax that
    we're all forced to pay, but I'm also for the best man winning. And IMHO, Google's not exactly
    deserving of the top spot here.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Graywolf (61854)
      Desktoptwo seems to be using a VNC applet to render Acrobat and OpenOffice application GUIs, so no "web-based Java version of OpenOffice", just horribly compressed visuals in a laggy VNC window to a machine running OO.
  • Who in their right mind would use this for any presentation that included anything remotely important? I think concerns about confidentiality will make this a hard sell to most corporations - those are the majority of the people who use PowerPoint.
  • when Docs doesn't work on my Linux + Firefox 2.0.0.3 setup (no cursor, can't type anything). Sheesh. Get the basics fixed first.
  • Hat trick!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Wednesday April 18, 2007 @12:19AM (#18777935) Homepage
    Awesome, now I need my laptop to work, the projector to be in a good mood, _AND_ an internet connection... in a place i've probably never been until the presentation.

    Things are hard enough as it is, but good grief!

    • Awesome, now I need my laptop to work, the projector to be in a good mood, _AND_ an internet connection... in a place i've probably never been until the presentation.

      Not really. I'm sure like the other Google doc tools, nothing will prevent you from downloading a local copy in common and open standards. The difference in my opinion is that now when creating the presentation, it is easier to collaborate on it and instead of uploading it to the Web after the presentation, you just make it public/add access for people. Also, when you go into the meeting where you are presenting, and those four people logging in via teleconferencing can't see the presentation for some rea

  • is it no longer true that you don't need one?

    I remember years ago when Scott McNealy mocked MS about needing a word processor, forbid the use of PowerPoint at Sun and made a big show of handing out whiteboards and markers to his employees .. until StarOffice came along. The suddenly he thought that "office" applications were great.
  • asked if Docs and Spreadsheets will compete with MS Office, and he said, "We don't think so. It doesn't have all the functionality, nor is it intended to have the functionality of products like Microsoft Office."


    That's a nice way of saying "oh, no, we wouldn't want it to be that bloated and complicated" :-)
  • I'm converted! (Score:2, Informative)

    by mjrobinson (922279)
    I've just been spending the last week moving all my documents to Google Docs and I think it's great.

    I want to keep my docs forever
    I moved everything over simply because my docs are spread across multiple machines some of which are ancient. I suddenly found myself wanting an ancient document that was stored on a laptop that didn't have any Internet connection. Luckily it still worked but it was a game getting the docs to a more modern PC. With Google docs I won't care what media the docs stored on, nor
  • I'd wish /. editors would use unambiguous terms, such as months, quarters or the like. I live in the Southern hemisphere, and whenever I read something that mentions seasons I must check to where it's referring, and if it's to the Northern hemisphere, mentally translate the northern season name into its southern equivalent. Not nice, really.

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