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Tuesday, Sep. 18, 2007 at 11:09 am

Blog Buzz: Google, Yahoo, I.B.M. Threaten Microsoft Office; MC Hammer Goes 2.0

By Robert Gorell
September 18th, 2007

“A great battle in the sea of Ones and Zeros
will present itself unto the Weblings;
the keepers of gates replaced by wanderers of Gooland
and evil itself shall require the correct URL.” –Grokstradamus, Quatrain 2.0

Today, the Internet’s true owners Google announced the release of a presentation feature for Google Docs, its answer to the Microsoft Office suite. In other words, Google now has PowerPoint — only it’s hosted online and, theoretically, more secure.

What might come of Google’s online presentation software? Here are a few predictions:

  • Last April, Google bought Marritech, a cross-platform video conferencing company (see also WebEx, GoToMeeting). There’s likely a bigger offering on the way.
  • Imagine hosting a live meeting, directly from the document, allowing others on your team to edit the presentation in real time. (Yes, that could be a good thing.)
  • Picture, if you will, hosting a free webinar; free to your audience because it’s paid for by Google ads on the side of your screen.
  • If it’s a paid event, your Google Docs seminar could give your audience the option to pay via Google Checkout with a single click. No hassle.

Still, not everybody’s excited about this initial release. ZDNet’s Garret Rogers thinks Google shouldn’t have bothered launching it.

Where do I start? Well, first off, there is no support for exporting a document to Powerpoint or as .odp (the open document format for presentations). I guess this isn’t truly a complimentary service to other office suites anymore like they have repeated over and over. Uploading Powerpoint presentations is basically useless too — it butchered the one I tested with.

Most companies have their own Powerpoint template they use to make sure presentations all have the same look and feel. And with that said — don’t bother trying to use it. There is no way to create your own template or upload one that already exists. If you have images that make up your template, you can add them to each slide but they have to be less than 2MB otherwise you will be out of luck. Oh, by the way, your presentation can’t exceed 10MB either.

[...] Oh, and bulleted points are sometimes nice to do one at a time — but you can’t do that either. You have to create a copy of the previous slide and add an extra point to emulate click events — who has time to do that?

Some powerful points, indeed. And that’s not all that’s happening on the office software front. Last night, Yahoo! acquired Zimbra for $350 million in cash. TechCrunch‘s Michael Arrington insists:

This was a very, very smart acquisition. In one quick move Yahoo is now in the race with Google for the next generation online/offline office suite. I would not be surprised to see them pick up Zoho next. That is, if they really want to dominate own this space and be a credible threat to Google Docs.

Oh, but there’s more… The New York Times reports that I.B.M. has teamed up with OpenOffice to offer an enhanced version of the the open-source office suite. Between Yahoo, Google, and — yikes — I.B.M., Microsoft must be a bit rattled today.

Google overload…

Meanwhile, Google’s going full-speed ahead. Last night, they even launched AdSense for mobile. According to Google’s Inside AdSense blog, “If you have a website optimized for mobile browsers, or are interested in creating one, you can start monetizing your mobile site by accessing a growing number of our mobile advertisers.”

Is that all? Only two new product launches from Google in a single day? How ’bout three?

Read/WriteWeb‘s Marshall Kilpatrick reports that Google Reader has left the lab — it’s no longer in beta — and has added 9 new languages: “French, Italian, German, Spanish, English (UK), Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Japanese, and Korean.”

New York Times sets content free

Making a bit of its own news, will do away with TimesSelect, the premium subscription service that granted access to its editorial columns and featured content. According to the Times:

…the project had met expectations, drawing 227,000 paying subscribers — out of 787,000 over all — and generating about $10 million a year in revenue.

“But our projections for growth on that paid subscriber base were low, compared to the growth of online advertising,” said Vivian L. Schiller, senior vice president and general manager of the site…

“Hammer Time” 2.0?

Who could possibly forget everyone’s favorite 5-hit-wonder dance-rap phenomenon, MC Hammer? Well, after going bankrupt and becoming a preacher immediately after his career tanked in the 90′s, it seems someone was listening. Hammer’s reinvented himself once again… as a tech entrepreneur?

Don Dodge tells us of his pal Hammer’s epic journey from parachute-pants-to-rags-to-angel-money with his new venture, DanceJam:

DanceJam hasn’t launched yet, but Hammer gave me a demo of the site. DanceJam can best be described as YouTube mashed up with American Idol. Users can contribute their own dance videos to the site for others to see and vote on. The DanceJam people set up “Dance Offs” where they put two dance videos up against each other and have the user community vote for a winner. After several rounds of voting they declare a champion.

[Sick of reading? Catch Blog Buzz weekdays on — or subscribe via iTunes. Bryan Eisenberg & Robert Gorell host the podcast, featuring a rundown of the day's top stories from The Grok's Interactive Marketing Buzz.]

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Comments (3)

  1. Google does it all, and so far they’ve been quite successful at it. I’d love to see the way their software operates because they have a track record of doing things a bit differently by figuring out the kinks with other programs in order to perfect their own. And they will continue to fire up the competition by offering everything they offer (and more some) at no cost! Anyways, I love the gotomeeting feature so I’m excited to see what Google comes up with, because i’m sure it’ll be a kick-ass product.

  2. Why wait for a v-conference! You can already chat in the right hand pane of a presentation. Just email the link to your invitees. No snazzy cinematic transitions or flash/video embed (yet) but, I am stoked to see what’s up Google’s sleeve next.

  3. I dont think it will be that popular personally only because its a new feature and Office is wayyy ahead of the game.

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