Google Apps Roulette Round 2: SlideRocket rocks out loud

SlideRocket is worth every penny for organizations that depend upon presentations for marketing, sales, roadshows, and conferences.

Sure, it uses Flash which, as we all know, is a little old school for the HTML 5 up-and-comers. And sure, it sometimes hiccups on a Mac configuration or two (what Flash application doesn't?). But SlideRocket, the topic of this particular Apps Roulette feature, would be a strong competitor to PowerPoint 2010 if it was just a standalone desktop application. As the web-based tool that it is, though, SlideRocket is unbelievably good.

SlideRocket recently became available for single sign on via Google Apps through their Apps Marketplace. Although you can subscribe to it on its own without being a Google Apps customer, the single sign on is handy for organizations since it allows users to immediately have access to the resource via Google Apps. Because SlideRocket can import Google Presentations, it also seamlessly accesses any existing presentations in a user's Google Apps account.

It's worth noting that I really like Google Presentations. It can't compete with PowerPoint (particularly 2010, which is both richer and more web-aware than any previous version by a long shot), but works perfectly well for creating, sharing, and viewing presentations online. Unless I need a presentation to really pop, it's what I use almost exclusively. However, once you use SlideRocket, you probably won't ever bother with Google Presentations again. In an ideal world, in fact, Google would buy SlideRocket and simply replace Presentations with it.

Next: Click here for a demo and the rest of my review »

Not surprisingly, the marketing folks at SlideRocket do a better job than I could of explaining the features of SlideRocket. Check out the demo below, created, by the way, in SlideRocket:

Unlike Google Presentations, SlideRocket is not included for free in Google Apps. Of course, you get what you pay for, right? There is a free version that gives access to all of the cool authoring tools and allows for publishing either via embedding on a website or sharing a URL, but is quite limited in terms of file sizes and excludes the collaboration features that are arguably SlideRocket's most powerful.

These features, namely the creation of shared asset and slide libraries that can easily be used and reused, as well as the web meeting capabilities driven around SlideRocket presentations, are why most groups would look to the $24/user/month plan (discounted at $240/user/year). There are also volume and educational discounts that SlideRocket negotiates individually. While this seems pricey, especially when you are already paying $50/user/year for Apps and have most likely licensed Microsoft Office too, it's competitive with WebEx pricing, meaning that if you don't need the desktop sharing tools in WebEx, then SlideRocket can be a single solution for presentation creation, hosting, presentation, collaboration, and interactive meetings around a presentation (including audio).

Slideshows can even be presented while offline using their free desktop client that syncs copies of your shows to your computer.

This is powerful stuff, folks, and as many users have noted, SlideRocket is what Google Presentations should have been. This is among the richest, most user-friendly web applications I've encountered and, for organizations that depend on presentations to grow and sustain their businesses, this takes cloud-based presentation tools to a level that Google Presentations, Zoho, and Office Web Apps simply can't match.

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