Google: Too far out of the box for some? But now there's Presentation Apps.

In a couple separate meetings today the topic of hosting email versus outsourcing to Google was discussed. Many of my colleagues seem to have come to the conclusion that presently Google is not a good fit for our needs. While I feel comfortable with continuing to host email, I have a nagging feeling that we'll be back discussing this issue wihin the year. Looks like Google is now getting ready to bring a PowerPoint like web-based presentation application to their solution set.

Here's what Zdnet has to say about the new app:

Google Presentations…one more step in the right direction by ZDNet's Christopher Dawson -- Google's announcement of presentation software to be added to their existing Docs and Spreadsheets applications is welcome news for those of us in Ed Tech. Google doesn't pretend that this is meant to compete with MS Office or even OpenOffice and it doesn't represent a viable alternative to these products for us. According to Google [...]

The outsourced vs self-hosted issue is significant and is broader than just cost savings. It covers the entire productivity spectrum. Having word processing, a spreadsheet, and presentation software, with a good measure of collaboration capabilites mixed in, makes Google Apps impossible to ignore. Oh, and don't forget all those mashup capabilities. There's little doubt in my mind that by next year, Fall '08, entering first year students will be equally, if not more comfortable using Google Apps to do school work. Keep in mind, for the most part these are 1.0 versions of these applications, (yes, I know in the 2.0 world we don't talk about versions), but imagine them in 3,5,...years. Google Apps for Education is an opportunity to apply the integrated outsourcing principle. We are going to have to embrace and extend web-based servcies and continue to support the mission of the instituion and maintain a sense of community.

Of course there are the issues of security, data mining, and a general fear of a big corporate behemouth, but that's why a near-follower strategy might be the smartest bet at this time. But sooner or later...

Google, email, productivity, higher education