The ambitious online suite Glide Effortless has gotten glowing press, including some here at CNET. With the release of two new Glide applications this week, a word processor and a calendar, I thought I'd try it out and see what the fuss is about. Unfortunately, the Kool-Aid Glide CEO Donald Leka fed me wasn't appropriately spiked, because I can't make myself love the suite -- although I do love what it aspires to.
First things first: The new word processor, unlike most of the rest of the suite, runs in HTML, not Flash. That makes it a bit snappier at handling text. The real selling point of this application is how easy it makes it to incorporate other files that are already in Glide. If you want to distribute documents that include files already in your Glide account, it's easy with this full-featured application. It is not, though, bug-free. (I tried to write this document in Glide, and it crashed twice.)
Glide also has an online calendar now. If you're a Glide user already, you might appreciate that you can drag media items into events, but it's far from a killer calendar app. I puzzled around in it for a bit and found myself lost in the interface. For example, if you're looking at a single day view, there's no quick way to jump to the next or previous day -- the navigational arrows jump your forward or back by month.
Glide's media functions are much better, and it's because of them that Glide has won its favorable press. If you're looking for a system on which you can store all your media, retain control of it when you share it, easily publish your media to a standalone site or to a blog (Glide hosts both), and retrieve everything on any device (including mobile phones), Glide is worth a serious look.
But it has an unusual and inconsistent user interface. Some menus are drop-down, and some are "pie" menus with choices arranged in a circle. One menu has the pie icon next to it, but when you hover over it you get a drop-down.
While I believe the future of Web 2.0 apps is in exactly the kind of integrated suite that Glide is becoming, Glide itself is not there -- yet. It's a very good media publishing platform, but the new productivity applications seem like supporting players, and the system's overall interface is too weird to make it a serious competitor to more straightforward productivity suites.