When I first started researching presentation tools, one of the first I looked at was Google Docs presentations. Despite one impressive animation created using the tool (Google Demo Slam: Epic Docs Animation), I discounted it as it seemed to have less functionality than PowerPoint and was also a linear tool i.e. it didn’t really have anything special to offer IMO.
Google presentations upgraded in October (see blog posts under ‘Links’), and now has more features, including:
- Transitions to move between slides with simple fades or spicier 3D effects
- Animations to add emphasis or to make your slides more playful
- New themes to create beautiful presentations with distinct visual styles
- Drawings to build new designs, layouts, and flowcharts within a presentation
- Rich tables with merged cells and more options for adding style to your data
What is interesting about these features is that they are apparently some of the most requested by users. Questions:
- Who are these users? what kind of demographic/background? how do they use Google Docs?
- Why did they choose these features? To make Google presentations more like PowerPoint? Delibrately or subconsciously?
- How did Google Docs select the ‘most wanted’ features?
The improved collaborative feature is what interests me the most; now character-by-character collaboration is possible, akin to that previously offered in Google Docs documents. Not only does this bring presentations up to the standard of the other Google Docs, but it also poses a challenge to Prezi as it could be argued that Google Docs is more powerful for collaboration than Prezi. I will be watching the development of Google Docs presentations and Prezi with interest.