Google Apps to take on PowerPoint

Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced the web search giant will be adding a presentations application to Docs & Spreadsheets. Docs & Spreadsheets will now feature a word processor, a spreadsheet, and a presentations application, but Schmidt said the suite isn't a direct competitor to Office because Docs & Spreadsheets doesn't have all of Office's functionality. Instead, it's more focused on Web collaboration than Office, which is a desktop-centric product. Collaboration, Schmidt said, "is the killer application." Docs & Spreadsheets is free, unlike Office. The presentations application will be delivered in the U.S. summer timeframe, said Jonathan Rochelle, product manager of Google Docs & Spreadsheets. He expects that as soon as it becomes available, the presentation application will also become part of Google Apps, the company's communication and collaboration suite for organizations. Google Apps includes Gmail and other hosted services, including Docs & Spreadsheets. Google Apps has a free version and fee-based version.

Google decided to add a presentations component to Docs & Spreadsheets as a result of user demand, Rochelle said, adding that Google isn't providing details of the application's features and functionality yet. The presentations component will have import and export capabilities for Microsoft's PowerPoint, in the same way that the word processor and spreadsheet applications have those capabilities for Office's Word and Excel, respectively, said Rajen Sheth, product manager in Google's enterprise unit. Google also announced it has acquired Tonic Systems, a company based in San Francisco and Melbourne, Australia, that has technology to create presentations and converting documents.

News source: InfoWorld

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