Google to kill 'Death by PowerPoint' with new Slides app

Google Slides gets new features. Q&A, voting, and laser pointers, oh my.

Google street view Mont Blanc

Google Slides aims to eliminate PowerPoint. At least, la GOOG hopes it can, particularly among educators.

Three new features aim to make your slide presentations more of a two-way experience. They're available now on Android, iOS and the Web app. Audience members can ask questions and vote for which questions should get answered. Plus there's a virtual laser-pointer (but do not stare into it with your other eye).

Q&A and voting will give your audience something useful to do with their phones, rather than searching for ways to hurt boring presenters. Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers point a <airquote>LASER</airquote>. Not to mention: Life after Death by PowerPoint (updated)

What’s the craic? A fortunate toxophilite, Barb Darrow, shoots her barbed arrow—Google Seeks to Make Slideshows Less Crushingly Dull:

Do you know anyone who enjoys slideshows? [Google] is nudging slideshow viewers to ask questions in near real-time. ... Then, in a...crowd-sourced model, the audience can vote [for] questions they want answered.

Clearly the company wants Google Slides to compete better with...PowerPoint. [It] has become, for better or worse, the standard for slide shows. ... Microsoft offers similar functionality in Office Mix.

Why and how? Frederic Lardinois says Google aims to help presenters connect with their audiences:

Slides Q&A is rolling out globally [now]. Presenters...will see a button in the Slides presenter view. ... On mobile, this feature will be behind the “audience tools” button. ... This feature could make...the Q&A session after a presentation...more efficient.

If all of this looks familiar [that’s] because Google once offered a tool called Moderator. [But] it shut down in July 2015. [It] offered a similar crowdsourced Q&A service.

Mouth, meet horse. Google's Michael Frederick tells a story—Talk with your audience—not at them:

Public speaking can be intimidating. ... Take Shree Bose, for example. ... She’s met with President Obama twice...and has given talks across the globe. But she still gets nervous.

When Shree recently visited our New York office...we invited her to try a new feature:...Slides Q&A. ... During Shree’s talk, [the audience] submitted more than 170 questions.

At the end of her talk, Shree...couldn’t possibly answer all 170. ... So she sorted the questions based on audience votes.

Education is obviously one key market for Google. Mary Jo Madda got to interview Bose—Survey Says:

Bose believes that the Q&A feature [has] implications for teaching practices. [And] for students who may be afraid to ask for help.

“As a student myself, I've definitely been lost and confused in class. [Q&A] takes away the fear of asking questions. ... Other students who have up-voted your question are [undoubtedly] also confused.”

Only one question remains: Are PowerPoint...presentations still the best way to teach?

But who would use it? OrionBeast would:

Q&A is the feature i'd definitely use. iWork < GoogleApps < MS Office. Although with Q&A added, it's a functionality that engages audience. I'm finally starting to understand how google [has a] better business model than microsoft at this point.

And Finally…

Life after Death by PowerPoint (updated)

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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