Introducing Zoho Start

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No, this is not a new application from Zoho, instead it’s an integrated start page for your Zoho Applications.

Many users know Zoho as a set of independent applications. Today we are taking our first step towards integrating Zoho Applications under a single page.

There is one important change we did in our home page. We added a login section. Earlier you had to go to individual applications to login. You can now login directly @ http://zoho.com and in a few days time you will be redirected to http://start.zoho.com from there which will evolve as an aggregated start page for all Zoho Applications.

The current version of Zoho Start integrates Zoho Writer, Sheet & Show. You’ll now be able to organize your documents, spreadsheets and presentations in folders. You can also tag, share or export them from a common interface. Presence status of your buddy list (from Zoho Chat) is also available from the same interface.

You’ll also see ‘Zoho Apps’ section on the right which lists other Zoho Applications you have access to. All of these applications are opened in a new tab in Zoho Start interface.

Try Zoho Start and we will be glad hearing your valuable feedback as always.

Questions for Zoho Creator’s Chief Engineer?

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After Suganya on Deluge Script and Sriram on Infrastructure, Security. Charles will be interviewed by Pete Thomas at ‘Land of Zoho Creator‘. Charles is Zoho Creator’s Chief Engineer. A very energetic and enthusiastic guy, he is responsible for the entire back-end development which involves feature planning, development and release.

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Pete has posted few topics which Charles will be answering. Here’s your chance to get know about Zoho Creator’s current features, upcoming features and whatever you wanted to know about the service.

You might also want to know what keeps him on his toes, NO……not for being alert or active but unable to be at his desk for long ;)

Zoho from around the web

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While Zoho Creator was the first Zoho app to have an exclusive blog dedicated to it, Zoho Sheet became the first to have a complete help book made for it. Check out the book at devGuide.net. Many thanks to Jacek Artymiak!

Lynn Aleshire
of Anchorage, Alaska has been using Zoho Projects to help her daughter with her school work. And this got referenced in an article titled
Checking the Kids’ Homework Over the Internetby Christopher Lawton at the Wall Street Journal as well.

Richard MacManus at ReadWriteWeb is having a series of posts on Web Office this week and this post has a poll on word processors. Vote for Zoho Writer if it is your favorite.

At Bootstrappr, Jessica Hupp in a post titled “The Green Entrepreneur’s Toolbox: 100 Networking Resources, Guides, and Links“, lists Zoho as one of the green tools that entrepreneurs can use for a paperless office.

Zoho Office Suite: The Zoho Office Suite has lots of great tools, but the greenest one is Zoho Meeting. You can use this tool to share desktops, hold online meetings and more, reducing the need to travel for collaboration.

We got a tremendous response for Zoho Writer moving offline using Google Gears. Blog search results in Ask (our favorite as it gets the most comprehensive results!), Technorati and Google. Thanks to all bloggers and analysts who wrote about this interesting development!

‘Land of Zoho Creator’ Gets Two New Contributors

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I am really excited to see Alan Bradford and LockWorld contributing to ‘Land of Zoho Creator‘. So, you can expect good variety in the coming days. ‘Land of Zoho Creator’ was started a month ago by a passionate user, fan and a well wisher of Zoho CreatorPete Thomas. Since then he has been exploring Zoho Creator deep into its very root and is coming out with many intelligent apps.

Alan Bradford writes interesting stuff (technology, education, and business) at his blog: Big Ugly Couch. He was the key person who dug-up and suggested Zoho Creator to K. Hovnanian® Homes™ for its business use. We have the case study on K. Hovnanian® Homes™ here.

Lockworld, a web surfer, provides some useful technical tips for the web entrepreneur at his site The Web for you. He blew our mind away by setting up the PayPal-integrated product catalog using Zoho Creator.

With Pete Thomas + Alan Bradford + Lockworld, I am sure ‘Land of Zoho Creator’ is going to be an informative and fun place to visit for all the Zoho Creators.

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Get going guys, our best wishes are with you!

Chat with Google Gears team on Zoho Offline support

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We got a great response for Zoho Writer offline support announcement from our users, bloggers, media….and also from Google Gears team. Members from Google Gears team congratulated us on the integration. We’d like to thank them for their support and are looking forward to working with them closely on this open source project.

We had a great time with Dion Almaer from Google Gears team who visited our offices yesterday to talk about our integration. Here is the video from Google Developers Channel.

Update: Dion talks about this on Google Gears Blog.

Also check out the posts from Donna Bogatin from Insider Chatter & Zoli Erdos.

Offline Support & Comments in Zoho Writer

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We just rolled out an important update to Zoho Writer. This update includes two important features. Offline support & Comments.

Offline Support:

We are taking our first steps towards offering Zoho Writer offline. With this update, you’ll now be able to access all your documents offline (Mac or PC) in read-only mode. We will offer offline editing capabilities in the coming weeks.

Zoho Writer Offline capabilities is based on Google Gears. Many thanks to Google for a great open source project. We plan to support and contribute to this project.

In Zoho Writer, you’ll now see ‘Go Offline’ link on the top. Clicking on the link for the first time will prompt you to install Google Gears. Once the installation is complete (and your browser restarted), click on ‘Go Offline’ to make your documents (both personal and shared docs) available offline. By default 15 documents are downloaded to be available offline. You can change the options by clicking on the down arrow beside ‘Go Offline’ link to download more documents. To go back online, click on ‘Go Online’ and you’ll be redirected to the online version of Zoho Writer.

Once you download your documents, you can access them @ http://writer.zoho.com/offline whenever you are offline.

This brief video talks about this functionality.

Comments is another useful feature we rolled out in today’s update. You can now add comments within the content of your document by clicking on the new comment button in the toolbar (picture-3.png) or just right click and select ‘Add Comment’. When a comment is posted, it is shown with a comment icon (picture-1.png). Multiple users can add comments making it a discussion as you see below.

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Clicking on the comments icon on the status bar (picture-4.png) shows all the comments inside the document.

Do give these features a try and let us know what you think.

Also, we plan to add another useful feature to Zoho Writer next week….any guess on what that would be?