What do you think about Google Docs Presentations?

26 10 2012

Google Docs Documents and Google Docs Spreadsheets are tools that I use a lot of the time for collaborative working. There are things that could be improved but as free tools I don’t expect them to be as comprehensive as a paid version of Microsoft Office. Specifically I like:

  • able to have multiple simultaneous editors with clear colour indicators during the editing process
  • ease of access on multiple devices including options for collaborators without a Google account
  • ease of use in terms of the interface and the ability to download in different file formats

So I guess I had high hopes for Google Docs Presentations (I have written about this before here: Google Docs presentations reconsidered).

Normally I do a Prezi presentation, but in this case a PowerPoint was required and because three of us in disparate locations were collaborating I thought it worth trying Google Docs Presentations. These were the issues:

  • I uploaded an existing PowerPoint file – there were formatting issues – some images didn’t import, 1 slide had an animation which no longer worked
  • I didn’t find the user interface as intuitive as Microsoft PowerPoint which slowed me down
  • I didn’t find there were enough advanced features which made me appreciate Microsoft PowerPoint more as I have obviously just become used to certain functions e.g. image formatting features
  • when uploading a YouTube clip a screenshot appeared that you had no choice over and in one case was extremely poor resolution; once downloaded the link to YouTube was lost
  • when I tried to download a Presentation as an editable file and open in PowerPoint it came up with error messages – these error messages repeated several times although in the end I was able to open the file (I tried this both with Presentations started from scratch in Google Docs and ones I had uploaded)

How did we resolve these issues? Well we couldn’t meet up so in the end we used Dropbox to transfer versions of PowerPoint between us – much faster and easier. Finally we also used Dropbox to share the PowerPoint (as it was too large a file size) with the conference organiser.

Please share your experiences of using Google Docs Presentations, maybe there are some secrets to using it properly that I am missing out on? or maybe not?

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Google Docs presentations reconsidered

6 01 2012

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

(Ref: ‘A fresh start for Google presentations‘)

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.

Links