I think most people know I'm a big fan of Google. They can have my search data for as long as they keep giving me new tools and integrating those tools throughout my browsing experience. I use Blogger all of the time, most of my communication is managed via Gmail and Google Chat, and I frequently collaborate on documents with my students via Google Docs and Spreadsheets.
My students have even coined the phrase "Googable," meaning "able to be Googled." For example, one student might ask what the conversion factor is between meters and feet. Another will say, "Dude, I don't know, but that's Googable - look it up." Seriously, this was an actual conversation.
We've known that a presentation tool was in the works as well for Google to supplement their Docs and Spreadsheets web applications and, as you can see from the image above (actually a screen shot), it's now available via the Google Docs interface. While it's no PowerPoint killer, it's a great tool for quickly sharing and presenting information and, like the other Google apps, makes real-time sharing and collaboration online ridiculously easy.
At this point, while I require all of my students to have an email address, I may begin requiring a Gmail account instead. In this way, I can even more easily give them access anytime, anywhere to my in-class lectures, in addition to being able to track their responses to my class blogs (hosted on Blogger).
Fellow ZDNet blogger Garett Rogers was quite critical of the new presentation tool. Perhaps my expectations were different or my needs may simply be different than his. Anything that makes it easier to share information in an attractive, interactive, collaborative, online way with students and fellow teachers seems like a pretty cool thing to me.
Again, this isn't meant to be a full-featured competitor to OpenOffice Impress or Microsoft PowerPoint. However, for most of what we do, it will certainly meet our needs. It's also free, easy to use, and makes your presentations (and those you are sharing with others) available anywhere you have Internet access. I've put together a gallery of screen shots and cool features from the creation of my first presentation. You can also view the presentation I created here, since it's 2 clicks to publish the show online.. Guess how I'm going to be doing training for the teachers on grading in our SIS next week?