Just notice that Google seems to have released today their presentation tool, available through my Google Docs account. Am just starting to play with it. Anyone know more than I do at this point, or have any reactions to it?

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Hi Steve and Wade, yes we are waiting for a Google online presentation tool since Google acquired Zenter. Pesonally I´m keen on SlideRocket!
You too?
SlideRocket sure looks terrific too. The beautiful thing about Google is the price of course. They provide apps with a good basic set of features that allow users to do much (but not all) of what they want. SlideRocket seems to be aiming for a richer feature set for the users who must have video, animation, etc in their presentations. I wonder what the cost will be after the beta is over?
Just tried it last night! Had some trouble synchronously editing a presentation file, but the doc worked very well.
It's a lot like docs and spreadsheets, it's got "most" of what you need, certainly not as full-featured, but pretty good for basic stuff. it's great for several people to edit the same document, it keeps track of edits (it has history like a wiki and you can revert to previous versions). And same as the others, you need an email address to use it, which sometimes presents a problem with student use.

I played with the Google presentations a bit yesterday. In Google docs and spreadsheets, you can work on the document and chat with people, and see the changes you make in real time. it's really great for working with people in real time.

the presentations work differently - while you are editing the presentation, you can't chat with anyone else, you just see a blinking message that the document is being updated. Then you can switch to "presentation mode" where you can chat with others. So it's hard to collaboratively edit a presentation (no chat), but it's better for a virtual meeting.

I also had some issues with the chat window - it uses Flash 8, which my browser says it has, but it still didn't work. It also says that my browser is not supported. But I've used the chat in both docs and spreadsheets, so the presentation chat engine must be different. But I have the feeling this is an early release and they will add more supported browsers as time goes on.
Google's Presentations adds another free way to create "slide" shows. The other free way to create a presentation has been around for many years. It happens to be the way that Tim Berners-Lee, the real creator of the Web, makes his presentations. It's called HTML Slidy. For more information about that one go to: http://www.w3.org/Talks/Tools/Slidy/#(1)

Joel
Yeah, and it's a good time to mention Zoho, which actually has many more online collaboration tools than Google (word processor, spreadsheet, slideshow/presentation, meetings, database, project management and a few others). Free like Google, but with an "enterprise" option with tech support, single sign in (which you get free in Google), more security and company-wide control (which might be interesting to schools.)

They offer a chat tool as well, so although chat isn't integrated like in Google, Zoho tools have been around for a while and offer a lot of options.
I'm starting to become a Zoho fan, too. I've been playing with some of the Google tools all summer, but in the past several weeks Google's tools have been unreliable, and sometimes even totally unaccessible. I typed up an assignment on Google Docs only to find Google was unavailable (repeatedly) and it wouldn't save. Google may be adding cool tools, but I can't sell them to my students and other teachers as a useful way to collaborate if Google tools aren't reliably available. Thus, Zoho is becoming the alternative.

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