These are exciting times – from an innovation point of view – for web collaboration tools. The last weeks brought major news from Google and Adobe who are both pushing hard on web tools now.
Over the last two weeks I have been trying out GoogleDocs and using it as much as possible. While it performs well and loading pages is very fast, there is still some work ahead for Google to make it a mainstream daily business tool. For example, the file upload limitations were a big problem for me as our presentations are usually big and to have an only 500k doc size limit means I cannot use it other than for creating new presentations. The text editor is usable, although I had problems here too uploading our company Word template. It did not do that properly, which means I would have to create a new theme as well to be able to use it. I did not try yet the collaboration functions but will do so shortly. Overall this was a promising but not fully satisfying experience.
So when Adobe announced its acrobat.com platform, I was ready to try it out as well and see if it is more suitable for daily work. The presentation tool did not allow me to uplaod any presentations at all, though. Maybe it is because that they have not opened up that feature to international users or it is not yet supported. I did not further investigate as I had no time to fiddle around with something so basic. To create new presentations though is – WOW – very, very cool. Excellent graphics and templates that make creating a presentation a very enjoyable experience. The GUI is Apple-like but as far as I can tell (I am still not a Mac user) even better. The best was the sharing function, though that provides nearly the same features as a GoToMeeting or Webex but also here looks actually nicer and impressive. Not surprisingly for Adobe the PDF online viewer is fast and very well done too.
So as a first and not final summary of my excursion into a very interesting new web collaboration software world, I must say that Adobe’s online sharing ConnectNow is something we will use for sure and I can highly recommend. The online text editors have not yet convinced me, although I will keep GoogleDocs here on my radar screen and if they manage to do even more good things then maybe it can replace Word. For now it won’t be able to do that though.
Last, but not least, if both companies could combine the best that they have then I guess they could really threaten Microsoft. Of course that won’t happen as you can also see with the fact that Adobe’s acrobat.com does currently not support Google’s Chrome browser. Which is a sign that they see each other more as competitors than partners.