It was always on the cards that a software giant like Adobe would eventually launch themselves into the world of online desktop publishing, especially in view of their pioneering development of Web 2.0 in the form of Adobe Air.
Acrobat.com is a new set of office applications recently launched by Adobe to get a foothold in this rapidly expanding software field currently dominated by the likes of Google Docs and Windows Office Live (Incidentally, why do Microsoft now have to tag anything new they come up with as “Live”? Can they not be a bit more creative in the naming of their online office apps?).
When you enter the site, it’s clear that Adobe have decided to base their suite on Flash which as we all know, can be very cumbersome and slow sometimes but it certainly looks slick. You are presented with a collection of online apps including Buzzword (for word processing), Adobe Share (for file sharing) and Adobe ConnectNow which allows you to share your screen with anyone. In fact, ConnectNow is a brilliant online conferencing app that assigns a room for all users to log on. On the downside, there doesn’t seem to be any presentation or spreadsheet tools such as PowerPoint and Excel and so it’s safe to say that Acrobat.com seems to be aiming more at helping people share and collaborate on projects rather than produce original pieces of work.
There are some definite reasons to be impressed by Acrobat.com. Buzzword gives you a generous 5GB of space for sharing documents and PDF conversions are so quick and easy that I’d never use a third party app for that again. The PDF converter can convert up to 5 files of 200MB each at the same time and it’s lightning fast. If they do choose to add a presentation and spreadsheet application, Google and Microsoft may well find themselves with a major player to contend with.