« Announcing "The Big Switch" | Main | Intuit's cloudburst frustrates customers »

Google buys PowerPoint editor

April 17, 2007

Filling in a hole in its Google Apps suite, Google has acquired Tonic Systems, which provides a set of tools for the online editing, viewing, and sharing of presentations created with Microsoft PowerPoint. Tonic Systems describes itself as "Java PowerPoint Specialists." Google says it will incorporate Tonic's technology into a new presentation service that will be added this summer to Apps.

Tonic's TonicPoint tools allow you to open a PowerPoint presentation with your web browser, edit it, add new slides to it, extract text and images from it, and save the edited version in various formats. What makes TonicPoint particularly interesting, in the context of Google's ambitions, is that you don't have to have a copy of PowerPoint installed on your PC to open and edit a PowerPoint file with the tools. You only need the file. You can, effectively, work in a Microsoft app without buying the Microsoft app.

As with Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets, Google seems to be designing Google Presentations as a hybrid complement/competitor to Microsoft's Office applications. You first use them as add-on tools for manipulating and sharing Microsoft files online, and then, eventually, you find that you don't need the underlying applications anymore. Google Apps, in other words, is designed not as an Office Killer but rather as a kind of Office Bodysnatcher. Google doesn't want to fight the Microsoft apps head-on. It wants to get inside them, and slowly take them over.

Google has wiped the Tonic Systems' web site clean, but, for the moment, a demo of the service is still running here. (Update: It's gone.) Here are some screen shots:





Re: "Google Apps, in other words, is designed not as an Office Killer but rather as a kind of Office Bodysnatcher. "

I can't believe you didn't call Google Apps the Office Parasite!

Posted by: Michael Walsh [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 17, 2007 09:08 PM

I can't believe you didn't call Google Apps the Office Parasite!

I would have, but I've come to learn that if you put the word "parasite" in a post, Google feeds you ads for "colon cleansers."

Posted by: Nick Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 17, 2007 09:19 PM

RE: ".. Google feeds you ads for "colon cleansers."

Good one, today Nick Carr is funnier than Dilbert.

Posted by: Gord Irish [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 18, 2007 02:03 AM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Remember me?

carrshot5.jpg Subscribe to Rough Type

Now in paperback:
shallowspbk2.jpg Pulitzer Prize Finalist

"Riveting" -San Francisco Chronicle

"Rewarding" -Financial Times

"Revelatory" -Booklist

Order from Amazon

Visit The Shallows site

The Cloud, demystified: bigswitchcover2thumb.jpg "Future Shock for the web-apps era" -Fast Company

"Ominously prescient" -Kirkus Reviews

"Riveting stuff" -New York Post

Order from Amazon

Visit Big Switch site

Greatest hits

The amorality of Web 2.0

Twitter dot dash

The engine of serendipity

The editor and the crowd

Avatars consume as much electricity as Brazilians

The great unread

The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock's avatar

Flight of the wingless coffin fly

Sharecropping the long tail

The social graft

Steve's devices

MySpace's vacancy

The dingo stole my avatar

Excuse me while I blog

Other writing

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

The ignorance of crowds

The recorded life

The end of corporate computing

IT doesn't matter

The parasitic blogger

The sixth force



The limits of computers: Order from Amazon

Visit book site

Rough Type is:

Written and published by
Nicholas Carr

Designed by

JavaScript must be enabled to display this email address.