We’ve all known it would happen sooner or later … well, it happened. This is certainly not new news, but it is a very good development — Google let the cat out of the bag for its forthcoming web-based version of PowerPoint, Google Presentations.
What is exciting is that this is collaboration on the creations side — unlike tools like SlideShare.
They got here by acquiring Tonic Systems and in the linked blog post they welcome to the Google team. I honestly have no idea if this can compete with PowerPoint — I know for a fact it can’t offer the slick look that Apple’s Keynote does. If it works as smoothly as Google Docs we could have a real winner on our hands. The reason to use Google Docs for me is all about collaboration … I know I’ve said it before, but when I have shown faculty, staff, and students Google Docs they instantly get it. It supports the way they work. Students are increasingly asked to work together to solve problems and the idea of pacing Word documents back in forth via email has become not only a pain, but completely outmoded given the state of collaborative technologies.
We’ve already freed those of you working in teams from the burdens of version control and email attachment overload when going back and forth on word processing and spreadsheets. It just made sense to add presentations to the mix; after all, when you create slides, you’re almost always going to share them. Now students, writers, teachers, organizers, and, well, just about everyone who uses a computer can look forward to having real-time, web-based collaboration across even more common business document formats.
If Google Presentations has the same level of collaborative capabilities then we’ve just found another tool that fits the workflow of so many of us — and our students. I spend a lot of time creating presentations … I also spend a lot of time emailing .zip files of these presentations to colleagues so they can reuse them. I also find myself collaborating with other staff a lot in the creation of presentations — and that is where this thing could be big. In addition to students writing together, we are asking them to create and present together more and more.
We aren’t ready to put away Office quite yet — the Google Docs and Spreadsheets tools aren’t at that level yet. I am very anxious to see how this one looks once it is released this Summer. I love tools that can support needs … now if I could just figure out how to feel 100% confident in letting my content sit on Google’s servers. That’s a post for another day.