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Adobes cloud computing applications

Adobe is a strong player in the Software-as-a-Service arena. Adobe offers a large pool of Cloud Computing applications Adobe's Acrobat.com offers a suite of tools that competes directly with Google docs. These tools are:
  1. Buzzword (equivalent to Microsoft Word)
  2. Table (Equivalent to Microsoft Excel)
  3. Presentations (Equivalent to Microsoft Powerpoint)
  4. ConnectNow (Online meetings similar to Webmeeting)
  5. File storage, preview and sharing
  6. PDF conversion

Buzzword Document Editor

Acrobat.com's Buzzword, is an RIA (Rich Internet Application) built upon Flex platform. The interface and performance appears similar to a desktop application. This gives Buzzword an edge over other similar products.

Among the features that Buzzword supports are Table, Image, Lists, comments, header, footer, special characters, spell-check and hyperlinks. Like other similar products, Buzzword allows sharing of documents with other users. History of previous versions is also available. It is also possible to provide roles like reader, writer, and reviewer to users. The application supports standard document types like doc, pdf, odf, docx, rtf and plain text format. Font editing features include seven different font types, font size, bold, italics, underline, strikethrough, font color and background color.

Acrobat.com has three versions –

  1. Basic version is free. Basic version allows users to create five PDF files only. However Buzzword support saving a file in doc or odf format. Hence if you just need to edit documents without creating PDFs, the Basic version should suffice. No technical support except discussion forum is included. The ConnectNow (web conferencing) functionality is available for a maximum of three users.
  2. Acrobat.com Premium Basic is priced at $149 per user annually, or $14.99 per month. The application allows web conferencing of up to 5 users.
  3. Acrobat.com Premium Plus is priced at $390 per user annually, or $39 per month. The application allows web conferencing of up to 20 users.

Acrobat.com is currently in Beta and at present subscription is available only for residents of North America.

Acrobat.coms Table and Presentation

Acrobat.com applications for creating spreadsheets and presentations are Table and Presentations. Both of these are powerful desktop-kind of applications, equivalent to Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint respectively.

Table includes standard spreadsheet functionality like Sort columns, hide/unhide column, filtering of data, and formulae editing similar to Excel. Six basic data types are supported – General, Text, Number, Currency, Date and Checkbox. Files can be exported into PDF, xls and csv formats.

Acrobat.com allows changes being made by one user to get reflected immediately to other users or can be synchronized later based upon user settings.

Acrobat.coms Presentation includes features like inserting lists, shapes, checking spellings, and pre-existing 12 design templates. Currently the saved files can only be exported in PDF format.

The saved files are organized in an elegant display and can be sorted on name, size, last accessed, author name, file type, last updated.

On the whole Acrobat.com is an interesting product that could challenge Google docs especially for more high-end users. The feature set for Adobe is still being completed; however the look-and-feel is much better than other similar offering.