Adobe continues to tread the path of online services with its latest offering Acrobat.com. With the launch of the online tools, Adobe also launched a tightly integrated version of Adobe Reader 9.0 that works seamlessly with the internet. With the latest offering, I feel Adobe is taking small but significant steps in the online office arena.
Weather or not it can defeat Google, Microsoft in this threeway fight is the big question?
Well Acrobat.com is a mini portal of sorts. It is the combination of their online meetings tool – Adobe Brio, online Word Processor – Adobe Buzzword and online file sharing – Adobe Share. Most importantly Adobe Acrobat 9 now comes with Flash built into the PDF experience.
I’ve been playing around with Acrobat.com for the past couple of hours, so here are personal opinions on each of the offerings…
Adobe Buzzword is the word processor of this suite. What strikes most about Buzzword is its lovely gorgeous UI, that just oozes beauty into the experience in using it. Adobe has made the interface so striking that, whether you have a small screen or a big cinema display, the UI is equally friendly.
Well accomplished Adobe on this one!! Also Buzzword is the only Online Word Processor at the moment that supports the Office 2007 file format (.docx) which is an added bonus.
There are other features as well, small but really useful like commenting, pagination among many more. Overall I feel that Buzzword is the most complete product of the suite.
My Gripes about Buzzword,
- Lack of search feature, makes life difficult if you plan to use Buzzword regularly.
- A nifty file preview feature allows you to preview office files in the browser, but the only problem is that everything is rendered in flash, meaning you cannot copy paste or manipulate the text in any way.
Acrobat.com has Connect which is probably the thinned down version of Acrobat Connect codenamed Brio. You can have online meetings with 3 people for free with screen sharing, desktop video, video conferencing, chat etc.
Being platform neutral it works amazingly well on both OSX and Windows.
As the name says Adobe Share allows you to share files with others over the internet. Just like any other file sharing platform, Adobe Share allows you to share large files instead of emailing them. You get full control over your documents like deciding who gets to see the file, and what kind of rights they have on the document in question.
The handy document viewer allows to preview PDF files and image files without needing to open the required desktop application. Neat eh!@!
With all said, Adobe has done a brilliant job for Acrobat.com. Its been quite some time since I last saw a web app that was so functional and beautiful at launch. There are some features they need to work on, and here are a few of my suggestions for the Adobe team, I hope they are listening..
- Remove the limit on PDF conversions from 5. Make it unlimited, since all the competitors like Google, Zoho allow unlimited conversions.
- Add Mobile sharing features. Since Flash doesn’t work well with most mobile phones a stand alone HTML version of the site will be useful for mobile users.
- Add Search features both within the documents and throughout the interface to locate a particular file.
- Add support for some kind of content organization like tagging, labels etc..
Having said that, Adobe has done a brilliant job with Acrobat.com, and I believe it is going to be a serious competition to Google, Zoho etc…
Let us know what you feel about Adobe’s latest offerings in the comments…