Slideshare Beta – Review

Slideshare logo.

Slideshare recently launched their beta version online and they definitely know how to make an entrance. Not only was Slideshare very quickly making the headlines of Techcrunch, but when you land a beta invite you can see that they are ready for business with a lot of features working. So what is Slideshare? Exactly what it sounds like – a way to upload your presentation slides and easily share them online.

Slideshare is the second online application from the team of Uzanto, their earlier application being a product called Mind Canvas. The team brings something new to the table with their super simple interface for this new offering. While they are only able to support PowerPoint and OpenOffice formats currently, those who use the popular Keynote software to create their slide presentations can easily save into one of those formats before uploading.

When you have a presentation in one of their supported formats, uploading is simple. You log in, and get a very user-friendly interface.

The Slideshare upload page.

You can easily check your ‘My Slidespace’ tab at any time to see your current presentations, your groups, comments you or others have made, your profile, and a few other things. You can see that most of those sections are blank on mine for now, but that’s due to the fact that my account was so new.

The slideshare my slidespace page.

When you take a look at a completely uploaded presentation through the site, you will see something like this:
The slideshare presentation.

I think one of the first things I noticed about this layout was that it is very YouTube’ish in format and options presented while watching. You have comments below the presentation, the url and embed code to the right with the information about the show, plus you have some suggested shows that are ‘related’ to this one, based on the tags used when the person uploaded it. It’s not a bad thing in the least to use the same presentation style that has made YouTube so big. In fact, who knows, maybe the two will work together very easily after that. But regardless of my random future projections of business concepts, let me just say that any time you create something that people are already familiar with, it adds to ease of usability – and that has been done here.

A couple of things that are definitely cool features:

First off, the automatic slide transcript is tops on my list. I did absolutely nothing to put that there, it was done for me. I love anything that makes less work for me, and so do a lot of people. Good selling point.

Next, for a web developer – I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for using the <object> element instead of the deprecated <embed> element when generating that code to embed the slideshow in your web pages.

I love the fact that you can comment on the individual slides – that makes it great for tweaking projects.

Another great feature is that you can grab the url to a single slide in a multi-slide presentation easily. In fact, that’s what you’ll find changing automatically for you as you click through the slides. (No major surprise that you’ll see nice little ‘Ajax-style’ aspects like that since the site is running Ruby on Rails.) So as I shift pages through the slides, that little url link to the right of my presentation changes to point to the current slide.

If you aren’t into Flickr (or even if you are it seems) this can work great for your photo slide presentations.

I definitely like the fact that you can easily resize the embed object box, or go full screen if you want to watch it in the normal presentation screen mode.

Overall, a great looking Beta, and I’m curious to see what else is coming from this group in the future. If you want to take a look at some of those embedded presentations in action, head on over to the Slideshare blog. By the by, they are hiring if you think it’s a project you’d like to join in on.

~Nicole

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