Today, Adobe releases a new collaborative Presentations application for its free online cloud-based office suite. This new presentation software brings one step closer to being a full-fledged online replacement for Microsoft Office. Since all of is still in a beta phase, none of the products are fully developed — and some need a little improvement. That said, Presentations has some really cool features:

Simultaneous collaboration on presentations

With Presentations multiple users can have simultaneous access to a presentation, allowing for real-time collaboration and editing. This eliminates the need to email presentation slides back and forth and also eliminates any problems with version control. The online interface even tells you which collaborators are accessing the document and which slide they are currently editing.

Ability to work on presentations remotely

Because is an online cloud-based application, you can now open and edit your presentations from any computer with internet access.

Embed videos in your presentations supports embedding FLV-format videos into your presentations. This can allow for much more interactive and creative presentations using multimedia.

What is missing from this first release of Presentations?

One major flaw with this first version of Presentations is the inability to save or export your presentation in any format other than PDF. While you can still display your presentation online through the other sharing programs, PDF is simply an insufficient method for sharing and distributing most presentations. The folks at Adobe are already on this one.

A second, related, flaw with this current version is the inability to work on Presentations offline. Adobe is currently in the process of developing an offline version of using their Adobe Air software.

My final criticism of this version of Presentations is the sophistication of the graphics tools. While many users will find the current tools sufficient — especially for simple CLE presentations — some will want more robust tools for graphs and diagrams. I was assured that these features are also in the works.

Recommend additional changes to Presentations

As you try out services, you might want to take a minute and head over to the Ideas section, where they solicit user feedback to develop additional programs and functionality.

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