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