Google Presentations?

Google has added slide-based presentation capabilities to their Google Docs suite. I noticed it this morning, and while I haven't dived into it headlong, I played with it a little bit. Seems to work well enough for my needs.

With email, calendar, word processing, spreadsheet, and now presentation software, Google has essentially created a free, online version of Microsoft Office. While none is as feature-rich as the commercial Microsoft product, they are all quite capable — certainly good enough for me in almost every case.

And Google offers collaboration abilities that Microsoft (to my knowledge) does not. Most of the confusing menus in the MS Office programs are things I shall never use, but the collaboration and sharing of Google documents is something I do use currently.

Now the question is, will it make a difference? I'm sure that large corporations, for example, will keep up with Microsoft Office, keeping current versions and staying up-to-date on licensing. But there are a lot of small businesses (90% of businesses are small businesses) out there that can't afford, or can't justify, buying new versions of all their software every year, and they can't keep up with the complicated licensing.

Since I, for one, don't own or use Microsoft Office at home, I have turned to alternatives. Open Office is quite good, but it's huge and slow, and for the purpose of creating a document or spreadsheet, I already find myself turning easily to Google Docs for speed and simplicity.

And that's the bottom line for me. Whether or not Google has any impact on Microsoft's bottom line is irrelevant, because they've already succeeded by creating a suite of online apps that handle all of my daily online tasks. And I'm not alone.
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