The Search for a Superstar

American Idol News Magazine

Subscribe to American Idol News Magazine: eMailAlertsEmail Alerts newslettersWeekly Newsletters
Get American Idol News Magazine: homepageHomepage mobileMobile rssRSS facebookFacebook twitterTwitter linkedinLinkedIn


American Idol Authors: Gregor Petri, Shelly Palmer

Related Topics: American Idol

American Idol: Article

Google Fortifies Its PowerPoint Knockoff Effort with Zenter

There's only a Google logo, the words 'Google has acquired Zenter' and a pointer to a Google blog

There's only a Google logo, the words "Google has acquired Zenter" and a pointer to a Google blog left on the web site of the precocious six-month-old start-up said to have software for creating online, viewer-polling slide presentations, assets that are supposed to embellish the piece Google's been missing to duplicate Microsoft Office in a watered down, software-as-a-service kind of way. No price was given for the acquisition.

Now, remember, Google already bought Tonic Systems in April, an outfit with technology for presentation creation and document conversion and Google was promising to add a PowerPoint-like facility to its Docs & Spreadsheets suite this summer.

We've heard Zenter described as a front-end interface and Tonic as a back-end that converts presentations into Java objects. Google was also supposed to have a PowerPoint knockoff that it was developing internally, but supposedly Zenter's was better.

Anyway, it sounds like Google might have a lot of integrating to do. There's also that promised integration with the newfangled Google Gears to be done so Docs & Spreadsheets can work offline as well as online and really irritate Microsoft.

Zenter, by report, supports live broadcasts and fonts without plug-ins and can drag-and-drop and morph images, charts and content from any site. Oh, yeah, and it can import PowerPoint files and put slide shows in a public library for other users to remix if they want.

It was in a closed beta three months ago and it's unclear whether it got much farther but there's talk of a couple of provisional patent applications like on rotating text.

Zenter is a Y Combinator company, a newfangled Silicon Valley incubator not far from Google that puts twentysomething wannabes through a kind of entrepreneurial boot camp, giving them maybe $20,000 in seed money, the chance to build a prototype, exposure to some brand name folks and an introduction to angel or top VC investors in exchange for five or six points. No business plans are necessary.

A month-old Newsweek article called the process "American Idol meets Wired magazine."

Zenter is 29-year-old Wayne Crosby, a one-time Amazon project manager who also worked on Go Daddy's Quick Shipping Cart, and 23-year-old programmer Robbie Walker and, according to Newsweek, they turned down an initial offer from Google that they thought was too low.

Y Combinator was started by fortysomething Paul Graham, who sold Viaweb, the first ASP, to Yahoo, which turned it into Yahoo Store.

Google of course claims it's not really competing against Microsoft (Snort). It's in the productivity apps game to scratch people's sharing itch.

Well, IBM wants to scratch too and has finally released its promised Lotus Connections, a handful of so-called Web 2.0 components so businesspeople can find subject matter experts, join communities and exchange ideas.

It's also about to release Lotus Quickr, which gives businesses blogs, wikis and team space templates so they can get collaboration projects up and running fast.

The $70-a-user widgetry, which provides web access from Windows, Linux and the Mac, integrates content from Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007, Explorer on XP and Vista, Firefox and Safari, Lotus Sametime 7.5 and Lotus Notes 7 and 8 in a Quickr shared library. Microsoft's Outlook e-mail will follow later this year as will SharePoint and Exchange and IBM's own enterprise content management systems.

Quickr has out-of-the-box customizable templates that support business processes like project management, image repository and dynamic surveys and, when all this cuddly sharing gets a bit much, the wiki has a rip cord so you can revert to an earlier version.

Microsoft is going down the same road, building out from Office SharePoint Server 2007.

More Stories By Search News Desk

SYS-CON Media's Search Developer's Journal (search.sys-con.com), is the first and only global publication to present the hottest timely topics on the merging search engine companies, search optimization and search engine marketing industry, and all related articles, feature and news stories for search technology professionals.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Google News 06/22/07 09:21:32 AM EDT

There's only a Google logo, the words 'Google has acquired Zenter' and a pointer to a Google blog left on the web site of the precocious six-month-old start-up said to have software for creating online, viewer-polling slide presentations, assets that are supposed to embellish the piece Google's been missing to duplicate Microsoft Office in a watered down, software-as-a-service kind of way. No price was given for the acquisition.