Google’s online productivity suite is getting closer to HMTL5 nirvana, with the announcement of a new preview version of its Google Docs presentation Web app. The new version comes a full year and a half after Google announced a new foundation for its document, spreadsheet, and drawing components. The PowerPoint wannabe can now also produce transitions and animations, and its table and drawing capabilities have been beefed up.
The new presentation Web app will include 50 updates, including the following most-requested revamps:
Transitions to move between slides with simple fades or spicier 3D effects. Animations to add emphasis or to make your slides more playful. New themes to create beautiful presentations with distinct visual styles. Drawings to build new designs, layouts, and flowcharts within a presentation. Rich tables with merged cells and more options for adding style to your data.
Most of these are features that have been available for years in Microsoft PowerPoint, and I still noticed that there was no spell correction in the new Google presentation builder, something with which many presenters need help. As for offline editing, we’re still waiting. Though you can use Gmail offline in the Chrome browser with a new plugin, this only lets you view docs and spreadsheets offline, not edit them.
The new presentation app is being gradually rolled out to users starting today. To try it out without having to wait, Google software engineer Steven Saviano suggested the following procedure: “Click on the gear icon in your document list, and select Document settings. Then, from the editing tab, check the box to ‘Create new presentations using the latest version of the presentation editor.'” This doesn’t, however, seem to work in Google Apps accounts.