image Just a quick weekend look at Adobe’s new "online office" product –  At least, that’s how I found it referred to in some of the news bits today.  Overall I was impressed with the first release of Adobe’s efforts.  With a slick, Flash based interface, it has good performance and is visually appealing.

They seem to be starting out with some good features, but are missing many.  Zoho is closest to providing an online office suite that compares anywhere near Microsoft Office.  Adobe is starting out with a word processor, document sharing ability with a generous 5GB of space, a document to PDF conversion tool, and a really nifty web conferencing application.

Adobe Buzzword beta The word processor, called BuzzWord, is what you’d expect.  It has the basics and is similar feature wise to Google Docs.  PDF conversion is straight forward, you can upload a doc to convert and it saves the resulting file in the My Files applet.  File sharing is accomplished from the drop-down context menu and provides the ability to embed the doc into a site.

Adobe ConnectNow beta The most impressive app included here is the web conferencing, called ConnectNow, which has features similar to WebEx.  Adobe provides each user their own room, assigns a conference phone number to it, allows for desktop sharing, meeting notes, group & individual IM, and WebCasting with an optional web cam.  Good stuff.

Just a couple bullet points:

  • Look & Feel: Wow – the Flash based interface is impressive
  • Consistency: Needs some work, changing applications launches too many windows
  • Integration: Very little between "applications"
  • Functionality: Depends on feature – some are quite rich, others very basic
  • Features: Document sharing, Word Processor, PDF Conversion, Web Conferencing

Overall it’s a good start.  There is a long way to go to compete evenly with Google Docs & Spreadsheets, but then Google doesn’t have a web conference tool.  It’s not going to compete with MS Office, or any of the others for some time.  With that said, however, if you want to convert some documents to PDF, host documents that you can link to in email or from a website, or a decent free web conferencing tool, it might be a good adjunct to your current solutions.

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