The latest news about Zoho

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Some excerpts from recent blog posts and articles around the web here.

Update : Rod Boothby at Innovation Creators is running a (Zoho powered) poll on who will be Read/Write Intranet Idol in 2007. Vote for your favorite at his blog.

Bala has a nice review of Zoho Wiki. From his blog,

Here is yet another great product from Zoho. You can create your Wiki in a flash. No more ads in Wikis and a you have a full featured WYSIWYG editor without any limitation on the number of pages.


Larry Cannell in his Collaboration Loop column writes,

Ever since writing about Google Docs and Spreadsheets, I have been fascinated by the prospect of a completely web-based office suite. Since then I have been using Google Docs and Spreadsheets whenever possible. This past week I experimented with the Zoho suite of tools. They look to be several steps ahead of Google in terms of features and level of maturity.

Zoho has an incredibly powerful online application builder called Zoho Creator. Think simple (as in easy to use) yet powerful version of Microsoft Access for the web. These types of applications are especially well suited for web delivery.

Sys-Con’s Ajax world magazine had an article on Zoho and quoted Manikandan Vembu, our Director of Engineering.

“2006 was the year of the consumer web where companies like YouTube, MySpace took off. We believe 2007 will be the year of the enterprise web where AJAX applications will play a crucial role in the enterprise space. Web 2.0 will help enterprises drastically reduce their IT spending & we believe this will bring new opportunities for Zoho in enterprises.”

The blog ‘BULLETIZER’ in a post about introducing its readers to ‘cool new web efficiency tools’ had this to say on Zoho :

Zoho. Quite possibly the greatest suite of things you need but don’t know about, Zoho offers all kinds of great tools for free. It would be great if Zoho really took root, because their site is clean, the tools are useful, and the price fits into every budget.

Do you have anything to say about Zoho? Please leave your comments or if you have a blog, make a post.

iPhone impact on Web Apps like Zoho

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I almost spent the whole day at MacWorld and am certainly blown away like others with features announced with iPhone. While iPod and Phone integration excited many users (including me), I was particularly excited about the internet communications functionality part of iPhone. The reason is simple….when there is a device with a big screen along with built in Wi-Fi and a full fledged browser with very good ease of use, the chances of practically and regularly using web apps on a mobile device can only go up (considering my bad experiences with many existing devices). This can only be good news for web apps like Zoho as the reach goes beyond desktop.

What does this mean to Zoho….as Bill Seaver says, it can only be good news for us as we can now offer browser based office apps on your phone too. But first, we will have to work on supporting Safari. I hope we will have browser options (firefox) going forward on iPhone.

Update: Ismael Ghalimi has a good post on iPhone and Office 2.0.

Update 2: Sridhar Vembu says in comments

The logical next step would be for the mobile phone to dock itself through USB to a LCD display device, so the phone gets charged while driving the display & keyboard. In another variation, it can be even your LCD TV where you dock the phone, and drive it through a remote keyboard. You will have these 100% stateless display/keyboard combinations available everywhere you go, and people just dock their mobile to it, fire up a browser to get their work done. This would be my personal computing nirvana. I posted about it over a year ago at

http://blogs.adventnet.com/perma/5042/mobile-phone-as-pc.html

Phillip Greenspun has said the same thing before. I hope Apple/Nokia/Motorola/Samsung would get us that device soon.

Mobile and Office 2.0 is a marriage made in heaven.

A little conversation at this end of the blogosphere

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There has been lots of examples of companies ignoring users getting punished in the long run. And with the proliferation of blogs, the reaction’s much more immediate.

Thanks to gurus and blogging evangelists like Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel, Seth Godin, Hugh MacLeod et al, Zoho has pursued and will continue to pursue the path of actively listening to what the blogosphere has to say of us. This is not something new to us though as at AdventNet (parent company of Zoho), we have been doing this for the last 10 years – listening to what our users and customers have to say.

While there are a lot many examples of Zoho’s active involvement with the blogosphere, I would like to bring to attention a little conversation that happened last month.

Yoav Ezer started this conversation when he published a very good and detailed report of how people are leaving sensitive information on the web while using web services like Zoho, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, Thinkfree and others. He pointed out that many people didn’t know they have actually made the info public allowing everyone to see.

The post got the attention of many including a long-time Zoho user – Rich, another blogger – SaaS-a-fras and obviously us too. Rich’s point was about how it isn’t the online services fault fully – it is like with blogging or YouTube, users should know they are using online services and realize that it is their actions and it is their sole responsibility.

Saas-a-fras countered with “people won’t blame the posters but will instead blame the software companies even though users should know better.  So even though the security of the providers system was not directly being questioned, the end result it that it would be.”

We don’t make documents as public by default (unlike say YouTube or del.icio.us where things uploaded are made public by default so that it gets social). Users have to click on ‘Publish’ -> ‘Make it public’ for doing so in our case. And yet, Yoah’s report had evidence of people publishing sensitive info. What we found out was this – all Zoho services have a demo account which we have had as a policy for not locking in the first time users, who are here just wanting to try out Zoho. If someone copies and pastes data into the demo account, it is there for the next person logging on to see. So, we immediately canceled the demo account for Zoho Writer. (we followed up by taking of the demo for Zoho Sheet and Zoho Show too later)

As you can see it was a small thing to do from our side. But the beauty of it was that the whole thing was initiated by the users and blogosphere. If it hadn’t been for Yoav’s report, Zoho services would have continued to have had the demo account. And if we hadn’t been actively tracking the blogosphere, we couldn’t have found this sensitive issue.

Thanks to Chris Kasten for chipping in.

ODP support in Zoho Show

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Zoho Show had a very important update minutes earlier. You can import ODP files
into Zoho Show now. Previously we had support to import only .ppt, .pps and .sxi (OpenOffice’s older version Impress) files. With the current update, Zoho Show now has full OOo support. Try the latest Zoho Show.

Add Table of Contents to your Zoho Writer docs

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We added this very useful feature that many of you have been asking for a few days back. Have a document that you would like to have a TOC at the beginning? Simple, click on the ‘Table of Contents’ button in the Zoho Writer toolbar and all the Heading tags in your document will automatically become part of your TOC.

zoho-writer-toc


Try the new TOC feature in Zoho Writer.

Zoho in ‘End of 2006′ lists

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Earlier, Raju posted about Dion choosing Zoho as the best Office 2.0 Suite. Zoho also formed part of a few other lists too. Dr. Barry Dahl chose Zoho as his top web tool for 2006. More sweet was the fact that the other 11 top tools in his list included the likes of big guns like Flickr, Skype, del.icio.us etc.

Aner Ravon chose Zoho as one of his top picks of 2006 too. And we missed Mike Arrington’s list by a whisker. Hope Mike gets more dependent on Zoho as 2007 progresses!

Update : Zoho finds a place in Jay Fortner’s yearly list too. And Pluto, in his Italian blog Piggy Wiggy declares “office online = zoho“! Can’t agree more ;-)

Versioning support in Zoho Show

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We have added one of the most asked for features in Zoho Show – versioning support! Each presentation you (and your collaborators) create in Zoho Show is saved as multiple versions, allowing you to see how the presentation has developed over time. And of course you can revert to any previous version whenever you want. For accessing the version details, click on the ‘Actions’ link at the top-right and choose the ‘History’ menu item.

Other new features that this update brought in : The ‘Notes’ section of a Microsoft Powerpoint presentation file will get imported fine when you import the file into Zoho Show. And when a Zoho Show slide show is embedded in your blog or website, you now get a ‘View in full screen mode’ as an option in the bottom control panel.