SlideRocket gets interactive with polling, comments

Web-based presentation creation tool SlideRocket is rolling out a handful of new features today, all of which are aimed at business users. Together, they promise to make it easier to see how the people you're sending a presentation to are viewing it, as well as help those involved in its creation get and manage feedback both before and after it goes out.

That first bit of collaboration is a new commenting tool, which lets a presentation maker ask the viewer, or any colleagues, to leave a comment on any particular slide. Viewers can place these anywhere on a slide, … Read more

SlideRocket isn't yet PowerPoint's undoing. But it might be

Almost one year ago to the day, a start-up called SlideRocket began a private beta of its Web-based presentation creation service. With the company opening up its beta test to the public today, legions of frustrated PowerPoint users around the world must wonder whether their digital deliverance is not far away.

At first blush, the odds are against these guys having much impact. It's a young company, after all, and who has the spare cash to pay for Jerry Seinfeld television spots. (Though judging from Microsoft's uneven success with its latest batch of TV ads, that's hardly … Read more

Hands-on with SlideRocket, a PowerPoint killer in the making

I spent some of this weekend using SlideRocket, a new service that's aiming to replace your presentation software with its flashy (actually Flexy) Web-based tools. Is it a real PowerPoint or Apple Keynote killer in its current iteration? Not yet, but I think it's off to a great start.

The service has all the flash and fervor of some other Adobe Flex-based apps we've seen like BuzzWord, Scrapblog, and Picnik. The transitions and stock slide templates are enough to distract you from how potentially boring your presenter is and thought has been put into making things look good from the get-go, no matter your design prowess. In many ways, the final results are indistinguishable from Apple's well-known presentation software Keynote, which has been a part of the company's iWork suite for Macs for the last three years.

Let's start by talking about what makes SlideRocket different from presentation software you might be used to. For one thing it's very Web-friendly. As I mentioned last week in our coverage of the company's demo at the Under the Radar conference (coverage), it's been designed to integrate media and information services you're already using. Big names on the list include Yahoo maps, Flickr, and Google Docs; I foresee others being added in the future--as long as the service has a data API.

Linking up to each of these services is handled with some grace, although I found performance to take a hit when adding several Flickr photos to a single slide since the service will check in with Flickr each time you load up the slide. It can be set to do the same thing for Google Documents, but this is actually a good thing in case the source data changes. I've been told local copies of the files will be able to be stored on SlideRocket's servers in the future to speed things up.

Speaking of local storage, SlideRocket has the beginnings of a very smart way to handle shared media. Similar to Keynote, all your files are put together in one place and can be sorted via keywords simply by name. The more time you spend categorizing it, the faster you'll be able to parse it, but the built-in search is instantaneous--which is very helpful. Users get up to 3GB of storage to share photos, music, and videos. These asset libraries are shared in the business editions.

So, how does it stack up against other Web-based presentation tools?… Read more

5 impressive new business Web apps from Under the Radar

Josh and I spent a day working the Under the Radar conference last week (see all stories). Actually, Josh was working; I was onstage hustling start-ups on and off the stage. We saw about 40 business-related Web 2.0 companies. Most of them were very early-stage, so you might not want to entrust your business to them. But there were several apps that were more developed, and a few that are worth looking at even though they're not.

As I wrote after the Demo conference, I am amazed by what people are doing with Flash and AIR apps. Two … Read more

SlideRocket puts the 'wow' into online presentations

Flashy presentation tool SlideRocket is easily one of the best-looking services I've seen.

CEO Mitch Grasso's presentation at this afternoon's Under the Radar session about the virtual worker (using SlideRocket to present) got several oohs and ahhs. In many ways it takes a cue from Apple's Keynote product with great use of fonts, reflections, transparencies, and transitions to put together presentations that use hardware acceleration and cutting-edge design templates to impress clients, co-workers, and potentially your boss.

The app uses Adobe's Flex technology and has an offline client meaning users can create and edit presentations … Read more