Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Google to Offer Online Presenter

On Tuesday afternoons I teach a class to Verizon employees as part of the Verizon NextStep Program. This program is a collaborative academic program put together by Verizon, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union. The innovative program provides select Verizon employees the opportunity to attend a local community college (there are 26 community colleges involved in New England and New York) one day a week for four years. After four years of course completions students granduate with an Associates Degree in Telecommunications.
NCTT has been deeply involved in the program since inception and it has provided me a unique opportunity to spend half a day a week each semester with a great group of technicians. I think I learn just as much as they do in these courses and look forward to meeting each week.
At the end of each course students are required to do technical presentations and today we got into a discussion about some of the options to Microsoft Office. We looked at Open Office, Think Free and Google Docs and Spreadsheets. We had some good discussion about the different products and students were asking why Google did not offer a presentation application - this was at approx 2 PM EST (11 AM PT).
A little while later (at 1:34 PM PT) my aggregator picked up an RSS feed from ZDNet titled Google treads on PowerPoint turf.
The article describes the keynote presentation Google CEO Eric Schmidt had just given at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. With a little research we learned that Google had purchased Tonic Systems, s startup company that, according to their website:
..... is a San Francisco-based company that provides Java presentation automation products and solutions for document management - Tonic Systems Builder, Tonic Systems Filter, Tonic Systems Transformer, Tonic Systems Viewer, and JarJar Links. Features of their products included text extraction for indexing documents, presentation creation capabilities and document conversion tools.
There is no indication when Google will go live with the the presentation software but you can probably make a pretty good bet it will be soon.

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