Microsoft PowerPoint Challenged By Google And TransMedia - InformationWeek
Software // Information Management
06:39 PM
Connect Directly
Ransomware: Latest Developments & How to Defend Against Them
Nov 01, 2017
Ransomware is one of the fastest growing types of malware, and new breeds that escalate quickly ar ...Read More>>

Microsoft PowerPoint Challenged By Google And TransMedia

After months of internal testing, the companies are ready to introduce online presentation tools: Google's Docs and Glide Presenter.

Microsoft PowerPoint has two new competitors.

On Monday evening, Google plans to launch its online presentation application, referred to internally as Presently, and TransMedia, the startup behind the Glide media sharing and storage service, said it will introduce its improved recipe for online presentations in the form of Glide Presenter 2.0.

In the near term, Microsoft PowerPoint isn't going anywhere. In fact, it's arguable that the presentation apps from Google and TransMedia only add to PowerPoint's value since it's all about collaboration.

Google Docs

Google's new presentation software completes Google Office, were the company to refer thus to its online productivity apps. In fact, the suite, previously referred to as Google Docs & Spreadsheets, is now called simply Google Docs. It consists of an online word processing application, an online spreadsheet application and, now, an online presentation application.

"Our policy is launch early and launch often and get the product into consumers' hands," said Google product manager Kenneth Norton.

At the Web 2.0 Expo in April, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that Google Docs would soon offer a presentation tool. After months of internal testing, Google's employees are satisfied that the company's presentation software is ready, said Norton.

That's not to say it's complete. As with its other applications, Google intends to add additional features, like customization for mobile screens and the ability to integrate files stored on remote servers. But what's available now is impressive.

Google's presentation software makes no pretense to challenge PowerPoint feature for feature, even if it will import PowerPoint files. Rather it has been designed to help groups collaborate.

"The friction we're trying to reduce isn't on the desktop side," said Norton. "It's when the document starts to involve other people."

Toward that end, Google has made inviting people to view a presentation and making the presentation exceedingly easy. Its presentation software is integrated with Gmail and Google Calendar, and it includes a group chat function based on Google Talk (but without the component that broadcasts presence information).

Google's approach to presentations is uniquely democratic. The software allows any group member to follow the presenter or to become the presenter with a single click. This obviously limits its use to groups of friends or non-hostile coworkers.

Glide Presenter 2.0

TransMedia's Glide Presenter 2.0 outshines Google's offering in many ways. Though not quite as responsive (all that Google data center infrastructure does count for something) or visually pleasing from a user-interface standpoint as Google's presentation tool, Glide Presenter 2.0 has been designed to work both on the Web and on a wide array of mobile phones, including Apple's iPhone.

Glide Presenter 2.0 can play video and music files in a presentation. Google's presentation software can't do that yet. Glide Presenter 2.0 also allows you to create your own themes, something Google has planned but hasn't implemented. Both presentation programs track revisions and allow users to easily revert to a previously saved version.

Like the application formerly known as Presently, Glide Presenter 2.0 is all about collaboration. "Collaboration is a huge, huge focus of this," explained Donald Leka, TransMedia's CEO.

Glide's transcoding engine makes it easy to stream large media files that have been uploaded to Glide's servers. As a consequence, Glide's presentations can show audio and video on bandwidth-constrained mobile devices without first requiring the viewer to download massive files. "Most presentations are less than 1 Mbyte no matter how much media you have integrated into them," said Leka.

Glide Presenter 2.0 will probably appeal to businesses even more than Google's offering because of Glide's sophisticated rights management support. Users can control the number of times presentations can be viewed, how many times they can be downloaded, and set a variety of other editing and access rights.

"It probably is the most finely grained set of rights that exists out there right now," said Leka.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll