Google head announces PowerPoint competitor

Schmidt unveils Google Docs presentation software

Google plans to take another swipe at Microsoft’s Office suite of tools by adding presentation software to its Google Docs web-based tools for word processing, email and spreadsheets.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt announced the new feature in San Francisco on Tuesday during a keynote at the O’Reilly Web 2.0 Expo. Although Schmidt offered few details, he said Google would add the ability to generate and share presentations to the Google Docs line-up, but stopped short of calling the new feature a competitor to Microsoft’s PowerPoint tool.

“[Google Docs] does not have all the functional [features] ... of [products] like Microsoft Office,” he said. “It seems to be a better fit of how people use the web. For people who are using products on the web who need presentation access and sharing ... they are going to use this. This is a testament to the strength of Web 2.0.”

Schmidt also elaborated on Google’s US$3.1 billion (NZ4.1 billion) purchase of online advertising company DoubleClick announced earlier this month and on the lawsuit Viacom has filed against Google claiming copyright infringement by Google subsidiary YouTube. Viacom is asking for US$1 billion in damages.

As for the DoubleClick deal, “the math works,” Schmidt said. “The combination of the targeting that they do, the advertising support tools they have built ... combined with Google technology would provide a better experience for the user.”

He also said that DoubleClick’s use of humans for advertisement buying and selling — as opposed to computers — could benefit from Google’s automation. “Advertising is both an art and a science,” he said. “We can provide the science to the art.”

For companies that may now be using both DoubleClick and Google, the search company hopes to make clients comfortable, either by keeping Google data separate from data about DoubleClick’s clients or by asking companies for permission to share that information. Both ideas are under consideration, Schmidt said.

On the Viacom legal fight, he said that the lawsuit is being used by Viacom as a negotiating tactic around copyright. He noted that Google took down Viacom’s copyrighted material from YouTube after Viacom asked it to do so.

He also noted that Google is set to bring out a new tool called Claim Your Content (CYC) that would allow copyright owners to monitor what content is being used on YouTube and other sites. “As that rolls out, the issues at Viacom become moot,” he said.

As for future acquisitions, Schmidt declined to offer specifics. But he did say Google would likely partner with companies in the mobile space and with those targeting the local search market.

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