SlideRocket Blog

Zenter (revised)

By Nat Robinson on June 28, 2007

Everyone we know has told us that Google acquired Zenter. Everyone. We were already competing with Microsoft, so what’s the big deal?

Here’s what Om Malik has to say about it:

Google has snapped up yet another start-up – Zenter, which is building online presentations.

The problem is that unless Google figures out a way to create a seamless integration between these online apps, these will all have limited utility. The other aspect of the Google Apps which the search giant needs to address is usability and interface. A lot of people like their minimalist approach to UI, but not me personally. Similarly, like many GMail users we are still unconvinced about Google’s ability to provide an always-on service, and ensure the safety of data.

I found an interview with Wayne Crosby, one of the founders of Zenter, from a few months back in which he notes:

Zenter relies heavily on JavaScript to provide a rich end user experience. We looked at several libraries (Dojo, jQuery, Prototype, etc.) and in the end developed a meta-language on top of JavaScript to meet our needs, using a tiny part of Prototype.

So when we talk about Zenter we’re talking about a Web application written in Ajax with the standard Web 2.0 limited feature set on a light background (why are all Web 2.0 applications created on a white or light-colored background?). Here’s a screen grab:

Zenter Screen Shot

Now launch your copy of Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote and take a look at the screen. Are we really talking about the same thing here? Does it look like Zenter can truly replace one of the leading desktop presentation applications? Your next assignment is to launch Google Spreadsheets, upload something from Excel, and start editing. Does it feel like Excel? Does it have all the features? Is it really a replacement?

As far as we can tell, Web sites created in Ajax just don’t feel like desktop applications. Mitch likes to point out that, “lack of features is not a feature,” and I agree. Where can we find the next generation presentation application that lives in the browser and can also run offline? The one where we don’t have to sacrifice features just because it lives online? The one that truly revolutionizes the way that we create, manage, deliver, and share presentations?

Wayne Crosby of Zenter goes on to say in his interview that

Presentation Software is a proven multi-billion dollar industry that has not had a significant feature upgrade in 15 years. I then asked myself, “What would make it sexy, innovative, and revolutionary? If PowerPoint were built today without the desktop limitations of yester-year what would it look like?”

We think that it’s going to look like SlideRocket:

    1. SlideRocket is feature-complete and feels like desktop software

    2. SlideRocket’s creation tools are professional quality and let you work with rich media

    3. SlideRocket’s lets people and organizations manage large slide libraries and collaborate on presentations

    4. SlideRocket delivers presentations as a Web link, as a Webinar (similar to WebEx but better because the load time is much less and animations and sounds play smoothly), and offline in a conference room

    5. SlideRocket’s community helps users quickly assemble world-class slides

Here’s a link to a short SlideRocket presentation so you can see what I’m talking about (you can run this in any Mac, Linux, or Windows browser with the Adobe Flash 9 Player installed).

We’re looking forward to our launch, with or without competition from Google.

- mike


  1. david

    June 29, 2007 @ 7:36 am

    Recorded/Flash presentation does not load.

  2. mikelingle

    July 2, 2007 @ 6:11 am


    We’d love to know exactly what the problem is that you’re seeing. Does it get part of the way through loading and stay on a black screen, or does it not load at all? What operating system and browser are you using, and do you have the Flash 9 plugin installed?

    - mike

  3. Nishi

    July 18, 2015 @ 3:43 pm

    Nice post, Rashmi! It’ll be really iienresttng to see how the document collaboration space finally shapes up. Personally, I like all three MS Office, Google Docs, and Slideshare for their strong points:MS Office Rich (desktop) document authoringGoogle Docs Easy collaborative authoring n sharingSlideshare Easy sharing of read-to-share docs with an wider audienceWhat would really take the all this to the next level is a platform that combines the strengths of all the above three.Best,Sam

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