Despite many signs pointing to a release of Google's presentation service at last week's Office 2.0 Conference (coverage), the only thing we got were some new tweaks to Docs and Spreadsheets that went largely under the radar. This morning, The Inquirer is claiming that things are stirring in the depths of Google's Mountain View headquarters, and the app is set to launch "any day now." They're also claiming that the app will be integrating technology from both of Google's slide show and presentation acquisitions Tonic Systems and Zenter, which the company bought … Read more
GridPoint, which makes a distributed power generation appliance, is in the process of raising more than $32 million in a fourth round of funding.
An SEC document filed earlier this week disclosed the $32 million tranche that will be part of a larger investment to be announced in a few weeks, according to a company representative. The investors in this portion of the round include Goldman Sachs, Altira Group and Standard Renewable Energy Group, according to PEHub which first uncovered the filing.
Google has just announced its acquisition of Zenter, a small company that makes software for creating online slideshows--a much rumored, and fully confirmed product Google's CEO Eric Schmidt officially announced a few months ago at the Web 2.0 Expo.
Zenter joins Tonic Systems, another presentation-creation service Google picked up back in April.
Zenter first unveiled its service in mid-March and has since stayed fairly quiet. The service lets users import Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, as well as grab bits of content from all over the Web for making presentations that can be viewed and shared in the Web browser. … Read more
In our remote-driven society, distance is often considered a good thing. The farther away a gadget can work, the better.
So in this sense, a new projector from Sanyo is somewhat counter-intuitive: Its biggest selling point is how close it can be positioned to the image it's projecting. The LP-XL40 has an "ultra-short-focus lens" that can project the equivalent of an 80-inch screen from just 3.15 inches away, according to Akihabara News.
Why is this a good thing? Think about all the tight spots where it can work--such as mounted on a wall directly above the … Read more
Firewall king Check Point Software Technologies is sort of looked at as the Digital Equipment of security. Once a powerhouse, Check Point is now considered an afterthought in most aspects of security, with the exception of its legacy Firewall/VPN installed base.
In spite of its stagnant business strategy however, Check Point deserves a lot of credit for its OpSec partnering and development project. When Check Point owned the firewall and network security a few years ago, it decided that the best way to protect itself from competitors was to build a development and integration community around its products. OpSec … Read more
Gmail users who get Microsoft PowerPoint attachments in their in-boxes can now view them without having PowerPoint installed on their machines. Google appears to have flipped the switch to allow this feature as of last night. We originally reported on this last month, although at that time it appeared that only a handful of accounts had access. This option now shows up on all accounts.
Also, somewhat related: today is the unofficial "Day without Google," a challenge that asks people to try doing their searches on alternate search engines outside of the "Big 5" which includes … Read more
Some Gmail users (including me, but not Josh, nyah nyah) have a new option in their in-box: PowerPoint files that are sent to them can now be viewed "as slide show." When you click on this link, you're given a full-window, Flash-based slide show of the file, with forward and back buttons at the top of the screen and a slide selector drop-down menu.
Right-clicking gives you options to play the slide show automatically, adjust the speed of the autoplay, and download the original file.
This is probably the presentation player that will be part of Google'… Read more
Review Basics is a collaborative workspace for small teams and businesses. It runs right in your browser, and offers a fairly simple and straightforward way for others to share and leave feedback on photos, video files, and office documents. The interface runs entirely in Flash, so there are no special extensions to download, or programs that need to be installed on your computer. Just start up a workspace and go.
Review Basics works with a variety of common office document standards like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and PDF. It also can handle uploading an entire zipped folder, so if you get a zipped attachment in an e-mail, you can upload it straight to the service without having to unpack it and send files one at a time. Review Basics also handles videos, although they have to be in the .FLV Flash format, which despite its popularity on the Internet, isn't a consumer-friendly standard compared to .MOV and .AVI. Files are capped off at 25MB apiece, so if you're working with any video clip over a minute or two, it's likely to be too large.
Annotating media is fairly simple. Users get five different tools to mark what's on the screen: boxes, arrows, a highlighter, call-outs, and emoticons. There is no drawing tool, which is one thing I enjoy and make use of on other collaborative workspace services like ConceptShare [hands-on] and Octopz [hands-on]. I think at a basic level it makes things feel familiar, like using a pen. There are still boxes which can be resized and color coded, but for irregularly shaped elements, you're out of luck.
To separate which feedback is being displayed, you can toggle each person's edits on and off. It's a lot like PhotoShop when you show or hide layers, and useful when you have more than two or three people working on a piece of media at a time, as things tend to get crowded.
Review Basics is very versatile for a free app, but it's missing a few things I think would make it far more competitive in this space. I'd like a way to leave audio or video notes. Some people (like me) find it easier to hit a record button, say something and move on, instead of writing it out. I'd also like to see live chat or live video conferencing, something that can take telephones out of the equation for both businesses and customers. The service is planning on moving to a paid model in the future, adding these things would certainly put it in the realm of some of the other services charging monthly fees.
The team has put together a series of hands-on demos you can play with to get a feel for the service. [More screens after the break.]
We're big fans of Web-based productivity apps here at Webware, but we also like tools that bring Web 2.0 features, such as easy collaboration and access from anywhere, to the apps we know and use already. Xcellery (see Xcellery review) does that for Excel, and a new app, SlideAware, does a similar thing for PowerPoint.
SlideAware has two components. First, there's a plug-in you add to your PowerPoint toolbar (it doesn't work for Office 2007 yet, so I couldn't test this component). The plug-in lets you zap your PowerPoint presentations directly to the SlideAware service. … Read more