The online office space is starting to mature. After word processors and spreadsheets it’s time for the presentation tool to go online. Thumbstacks was the first such service to go online and it was followed by Zoho Show some time later. Now there’s a third contender going by the name of Empressr. But Empressr will have to do a lot of work to do if it’s going to be more than a flash in the pan.
Of the three ZohoShow is the most comprehensive and the only one to offer import and export compatability with Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. Unfortunately the limit to upload is just one megabyte, meaning substantial presentations are out of scope for now. I’m not really a presentation maker, in fact I haven’t made a proper presentation in about 3 years, but there are a lot of people who do use presentations a lot. To attract these sort of people being able to import from and export to popular formats is a must (though the facility to view presentations online is quite nice). Online presentation tools still have a long way to go, but they’re getting there. Once again Zoho is strongly making their mark in the online office space and I really hope to see some major new innovations from them in the future.
My favourite technology news website Slashdot has revealed a new look and feel. Unfortunately, I can't say how long the look has been up because I get Slashdot newsletters in the email and usually don't actually go to the site. But now that I have seen it, I like it. Things look more organized and the sidebars and individual posts are better defined than they were before and the site looks far more professional now. Though I must say, I wish they had chosen a lighter colour scheme, maybe with a few blues or greens. One thing that recently struck be about Slashdot is that even in this day of news services like Digg and Reddit, Slashdot manages to remain the electronic Mecca for many thousands of technophiles, without any of the "community" features that newer news services provides. I guess it just goes to show that if you are competent and good at your job, you can do without bells and whistles. More later.
As the title shamelessly screams, this post is about Yahoo! and Google Notebook. Yahoo has released it's new homepage to public use, and it's a nice change from what it had earlier. However I can't help thinking that it's just a tad more cluttered than what it was before. Personally I don't really use Yahoo! at all. I've almost never used it's search and I only used it's mail briefly. The use of AJAX is quite nice though, but it would be nice if you could customize it, like Netvibes, or even personalized Google homepage. Yahoo! has always been somewhat of an oddity for me, I never really understood why it was around, or what it was used for. I mean, Google's used for searches, Flickr's used for pics, but what's Yahoo! used for? Yes I know it's a portal, but I never really found a use for it and so you could say that I am a bit indifferent to what happens to it.
On to Google. Now that's a company that I see a lot of. Firstly I use Gmail, and firstly as well, I use their search everyday. And my first blog was on Blogger (though I quit that in six months). Now I like Google, despite all the hype about privacy loss etc. etc., for the simple reason that they give me free software and services that really are quite good. But of late, Google has been a bit disappointing. Blogger hasn't had any real improvements (like categories or stat tracking) for ages, the main page deserves a bit of an overhaul and many of it's newer products seem distinctly half-hearted. Take Google Notebook for instance, It appears to be a direct competitor to Del.icio.us, it lets you "bookmark" content on the web, add your note to it, categorize it and save it. But there is no tagging system and you can't place content in multiple categories. Like I said before, half-hearted. Another similar example is Google Calendar, which loses hands down to more mature apps like Kiko or 30boxes.
Maybe it's about time that Google stop rolling out new products and take more care in improving and integrating existing ones. It is beyond me why Google is so keen to roll out clones of existing popular services, when it would be easier to just integrate existing services with ones that Google already has. For example, wouldn't it be great to have Gmail, Blogger, Del.icio.us, Flickr and your calendar app, say Kiko, all seamlessly integrated into one great Web 2.0 interface? Google, slam on the brakes and give your policy a good look through.