Google is going to launch a presentation web app (which I believe is going to be called “Presently”) to complement its existing pseudo-Office offering in the form of Google Docs & Spreadsheets. It announced the new addition to its Web-based productivity apps on the Google blog yesterday in a post titled “We’re expecting” (love the title!):
Well, we tried to keep it a secret as long as we could, but to be honest, we’ve been dying to tell you about the bun we’ve got in the oven. We’ll soon be welcoming a new addition to the Google Docs & Spreadsheets family: presentations.
The catalyst for this new offering was Google’s recent acquisition of Tonic Systems which is “a San Francisco-based company that provides Java presentation automation products and solutions for document management – Tonic Systems Builder, Tonic Systems Filter, Tonic Systems Transformer, Tonic Systems Viewer, and JarJar Links. Features of their products included text extraction for indexing documents, presentation creation capabilities and document conversion tools.”
Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt made a point of arguing that Google was not out to challenge Microsoft’s own Office suite with its Web apps. He spoke to John Battelle at the Web 2.0 Expo yesterday about the new addition:
“We don’t think it’s a competitor to Microsoft Office,” Schmidt said. “It’s casual and sharing, and a better fit to how people use the Web. My guess is many companies in the audience are building products like this or other variants of this using the emerging architecture.”
Regardless of what Google may say, an offering including a word processor, spreadsheet app and now a presentation app is bound to give non-power users a pretty decent alternative to Microsoft’s well built and yet expensive Office suite. There is a preview of what you can expect from Presently on Garret Rogers’ blog on ZDNet, certainly from the perspective of support for the PowerPoint format.
For more about Presently (or whatever it will actually be called), take a look at these sources: