Google is set to launch a competitor to PowerPoint, the lazy marketing exec's presentation tool and the bane of many a dull conference.
The company will be adding the presentations application to its Docs & Spreadsheets suite, according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo event in San Francisco.
In a novel take on the concept that the medium is the message, Schmidt started his presentation by showing several slides with mock Google announcements. "None of these [slides] are really the announcement, but in fact the thing that is doing this presentation is the announcement," Schmidt said.
The presentations application will be delivered this summer, said Jonathan Rochelle, product manager of Google Docs & Spreadsheets. He added that the presentation application would also become part of Google Apps, the company's communication and collaboration suite. Google Apps includes Gmail and other hosted services, including Docs & Spreadsheets.
Like the other two components of Google Docs & Spreadsheets, the presentations application is being designed with collaboration and sharing in mind, so that multiple users can participate in the creation and delivery of presentations, Rochelle said.
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 - the presentations application in Office - 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. In this manner, Google's productivity applications give Office users the ability to share files and collaborate on them, Sheth said. "We're adding functionality to existing Office tools," he said.
In other news, Google has acquired Tonic Systems, a company based in San Francisco and Melbourne, Australia, that has technology to create presentations and converting documents. "It will be a great addition as we add presentation sharing and collaboration capabilities to Google Docs & Spreadsheets," Google said in an official blog posting.
Docs & Spreadsheets is free, unlike Office. Google Apps has a free- and fee-based version.
Original story by IDG News Service