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Zoho Show 2.0 is not ready for the real world

Zoho is improving its presentation app, but it needs to do more before it's ready for users.

Over the next few days, Zoho will update its presentation app, Zoho Show, for all users. We've been covering the app since June 2006, when we called it "extremely basic." It has matured since then, and the new version, Zoho Show 2.0, is much more professional and useful. But I found that it still has some maddening limitations.

The interface has been improved and brought more into line with Zoho's other apps. And there's now a decent library of templates, most of which are pretty sharp and will make your presentations look professional, assuming you get the content right. There's also a library of shapes you can use to draw diagrams. You can also pull up a chat window alongside a Zoho Show to collaborate with other users when you're working on it.

So close, yet so far. Zoho

Zoho shows can be presented in full-screen view from any Web browser. You can also embed shows in a site, and even send out links to Zoho Show players that let you remote control the advance of slides. That's very slick.

Cool: You can advance slide shows over the Web Zoho

Unfortunately, I found several annoyances in the product that prevent me from recommending it. A few examples: There's no undo. That's a major bummer. Text boxes don't automatically resize as you type, so you may find yourself typing blind if you overshoot a border. And there's no integration with other Zoho apps. You cannot import a Zoho word processor doc as an outline, or a Zoho spreadsheet as a table or chart. To me this indicates that Zoho is expanding too quickly, focusing on building out new products and features instead of making the tools it has work together.

Zoho's getting there with this and its other apps, but the 2.0 version of Zoho Show isn't yet ready for adoption by real-world users.

Bonus: See Zoho's CEO Sridhar Vembu get grilled by me and Dan Farber.