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Google Beefs Up Presentations' Power

Google's online PowerPoint application, called Presentations, just met with some great new -- and much needed -- features. First is the addition of speaker notes, which is something I sorely missed about two weeks ago when I was putting together a presentation. Google also added the ability to embed YouTube videos into Presentations, and its Gears roll-out now expands to Presentations as well.
Google's online PowerPoint application, called Presentations, just met with some great new -- and much needed -- features. First is the addition of speaker notes, which is something I sorely missed about two weeks ago when I was putting together a presentation. Google also added the ability to embed YouTube videos into Presentations, and its Gears roll-out now expands to Presentations as well.The Google PowerPoint killer is still not a real killer yet, but is becoming a more robust alternative. Several weeks ago, I was putting together a Presentation, and needed to add in some speaker notes. Unfortunately, there was no capability at the time. I thought about blogging about it, but Google beat me to the punch by adding speaker notes in the last few days.

Google writes in the Official Google Docs Blog, "Seasoned presenters keep their slides simple and use slides to help illustrate their points, not to present all of their information. They jot down their talking points, examples, and supporting evidence in speaker notes. To help you do this in Docs, we've added speaker notes. You can print these speaker notes in advance, or pop them up in a separate window when you present." Very cool. My own solution was to create a new Document in Google Docs and just put the text I needed in there. This meant I needed to have multiple windows open and admittedly wasn't the most efficient way to present. Now that is all cleared up.

Google also now lets creators embed YouTube directly into Presentations. This won't be useful if you're not in an environment that can connect to the Internet, but if you're sharing a presentation online through Google Docs with other Google users, it is a great way to help illustrate a point or add some multimedia effects to your Presentation.

Lastly, Google Gears is now available to all users of Google Docs. It's been rolling the off-line capability out slowly over the past few weeks, and just today, Google announced that it is done with the roll out. This means you'll have off-line access to your Docs, Presentations, and Spreadsheets after you download and install the Gears application.

Google wrote, "You won't need to worry about an unreliable Internet connection as you walk up to the front of the room to give your next presentation. Just click on your Google Docs desktop icon and know that your presentations and spreadsheets will be stored on your computer, at your fingertips. We still only support English language access, and Google Apps users shouldn't expect to see off-line Docs unless their domain admins have opted in to getting this new feature."

For now, you can only edit Docs when off-line. Presentations and Spreadsheets will be view-only in the present incarnation of Gears. I would expect Google to add editing capabilities to its off-line programs eventually.