Thursday, September 20, 2007

Reactions to Google Presentation

Google released its version of PowerPoint this week, which you can try out with your Gmail account at I jumped on the opportunity to try it, because I use the other docs services and also because I was doing some remote collaboration with people in Russia, India, everywhere this week and it seemed like this could be really useful.

My reactions, in order of appearance:
  1. It's pretty cool
  2. Not enough keyboard shortcuts, or I didn't know what they were
  3. Default template SUCKS. The bullet points suck - too small, no spacing. Don't they know the 10/20/30 rule by Guy Kawasaki?
  4. Line spacing and font size - probably THE key formatting issue in a presentation - is difficult and sucky.
  5. I had a little trouble publishing, in that I'd publish, then edit my doc, and the published version didn't change, so I had to keep unpublishing and publishing.
  6. Download to a zip file is cool. You can view your preso on your desktop or publish to a site.
  7. Not everyone could view the file! In conjunction with #8 this put a huge damper on my experience.
  8. You can't convert to microsoft ppt. In conjunction with #7, it means that I made a presentation and had no way of sharing it with one of my team members without REDOING the whole thing in PowerPoint. Not good.
  9. On the flip side, this worked really well in IM collaboration with people working in India - I just IM'd them the link and they checked out the presentation. Cool.
Summary: it's good for collaboration, which is the key to any document. But its strength is ease of access on the web, and this is undermined by the inability to put into .ppt, especially given that it's new and has bugs. Secondly, it's easy to use, but still falling short on some of the usability basics of making a simple preso.

Will I use it again? Not sure. Maybe. I have spent lots of effort in the past getting team members onto Google Spreadsheets and Google Docs. They usually have lots of trouble getting their accounts set up and getting to the file. Sometimes it seems like it's worth it, but definitely not always. I believe in the product though and certainly it has a bright future.

I think their team should think more about Guy Kawasaki - a simpler online presentation tool is perfect for the 10/20/30 rule. It should be the strategy one-liner for their product, because it informs not just how you give presentations, but you sit down to create them.

As for the presentation I was working on today - a storyboard for a flash animation to replace our 1996 preview. So far I am PUMPED about it.