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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Google's lost a little of its luster...

Ever since my high school friend Craig went to Stanford to study computer science, met up with these two guys who were starting up a little search engine, and became the first employee and technical director of Google, I've been a fan. Aside from the fact that such a mega-company follows a mantra of "Don't be evil," and treats its employees well with such perks as rock-climbing walls and no-charge gourmet restaurants, I've always liked it because it simply makes a good product. From services developed in the Google Labs - like its original search engine, Gmail, and Google Maps - to those it has acquired as part of its vision - like Grand Central, YouTube, Writely, and Picasa - not a day goes by that I don't use some Google product online.

But now I find that my eye has begun to wander to another very attractive, if much less well-known, name on the web: Zoho. While it doesn't quite roll off the tongue like Google does, Zoho has a serious suite of web-based applications which not only encompass more features than the comparable apps in Google Docs - it has more applications, such as a database manager (Zoho Creator), web conferencing (Zoho Meeting), online organizer (Zoho Planner), and project management software (Zoho Projects). While I haven't yet had a chance to delve deeply into all of the applications, I suspect that it may become my new favorite web-toy.

While an entirely online office suite may not be the most appropriate for schools to use exclusively, it does present some interesting options:
  • Zoho Meeting could allow teachers and students to conduct online study sessions, or even teleconference in other classrooms for a collaborative lesson.
  • Documents and presentations could be imported into Zoho Writer and Zoho Show, which in turn could be imported into Zoho Notebook to create a virtual professional learning conference - or to make all of the materials from a face-to-face conference available to a wider audience.
  • Zoho Wiki could be used by a teacher to create a class webpage - or by students to create a wiki study guide on their current unit of study.
There are plenty more possibilities - check out Zoho yourself, and let me know what you think! Better yet, let Zoho know - it appears that the Zoho support team checks their forums regularly, and are quick to implement suggestions from users.

1 comment:

Arvind Natarajan said...

Jeff : Thanks for the nice post and for your appreciation! Keep using Zoho :-)

Aravind
http://zoho.com