Google upgraded its Google Docs online suite to include “Presentations”, an online presentation component that does try to be a little like Microsoft PowerPoint. OK, it tries to be a lot like PowerPoint, and that does not surprise me. But the question here is whether Google Presentations succeeds or not?
I’ll say I find the product snappy, intuitive, and easy to use. It works quite like a desktop application but it does have more than a few rough edges that seem to be asking for forgiveness, since Google calls this a beta 🙂
There are fifteen templates that look so much like PowerPoint templates from a decade ago — and there’s essential support for text and graphics. You can also import PowerPoint files.
There’s no transitions, animation, or charting. That’s a whole lot missing, and I could live with that, but what were the folks at Google doing when they decided to drop out the concept of a presentation outline! Everybody who’s familiar with PowerPoint knows that the non-existence of an outline in a PowerPoint presentation can be a big reason for useless PowerPoints that are more well known by their “Death of PowerPoint” name! And that’s twice as bad to know that Google left out the outline — since they have a perfectly usable word processor in the Google Docs suite that could have been used to create outlines for Presentations.
Where Presentations does score over PowerPoint is in its collaborative tools — and yes, I’m sure Google will fine-tune Presentations.
Ultimately, presentation creators need to present their creations — maybe Google’s acquisition of Tonic Systems will help it bring out a free presentation viewer for Google Presentations. And that may be a turning point in the presentations arena.