Zoho Announcements – How about three of them?

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Today, we announce three different additions to Zoho.

1. Zoho Plugin for Microsoft Office
2. Zoho APIs
3. Desktopize for Zoho (Download)

We are very excited about the plugin for Microsoft Office as this extends the Office functionality online offering mobility etc….or should I say ‘This is what Office Live is supposed to be’ :) The screenshot below may not do justice to its functionality. I recommend trying it out if you are a Microsoft Office user. Writer and Sheet connects in to Word and Excel respectively.

Opening Zoho files in MS Office.jpg Zoho-plug-in-open.jpg

Zoho APIs is our first major step towards opening up our applications to be integrated into other services. With these well defined APIs, other web apps can now integrate closely with Zoho applications.

Desktopize, our partner customized their offering for Zoho making our applications behave more like a desktop application. If you like desktop shortcuts, quick tray access, Drag-n-drop documents into Zoho apps, I recommend installing this application.

More detailed posts about each of these releases will follow. Do drop us a line about your views on these announcements.

Update :

# Techcrunch covered this Zoho update. Thanks to Natali & Mike!

# For details on Zoho API, see the Zoho API developer guide

# Download your copy of Zoho Plug-in for Microsoft Office now.

Play the Griddle on Zoho Sheet

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David Millar, one of our users, put up this public sheet yesterday, wherein he creates a very interesting grid puzzle, aptly titled by him as ‘The Griddle’.

You can play this ‘loop-de-loop’ game right here, or visit our Public Sheets and look for ‘Griddle’ there. You can also copy such public sheets and use them for your individual needs or improve on them and create your own sheets and publish them for the benefit of all.

David’s grid puzzle hooked us up so much that after he put up this yesterday, every single one of us here in the team ended up playing it, trying to complete it faster than the other! :)

Thank you very much, David – would love to see more such puzzles from you!

So, all ye folks who love solving a good puzzle – have you tried playing Griddle today?

And all ye folks out there with ideas for other nice puzzles, what are you waiting for? :)

Nobody does Web Office better than Zoho

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Ok, we didn’t say it but “The Student Newspaper for the University of Houston Law Center” says it. From their blog :

Imagine if Microsoft Office was completely free and you didn’t need software or a hard drive to use it. Well, that’s the idea behind Zoho, a suite of productivity software that lives entirely on the Web and doesn’t charge individuals (corporations can pay for a more powerful version). Zoho offers a word processor, spreadsheet, and Powerpoint-style presentation program. It also offers email, calendar, and planning software. None of these programs are as powerful as Office, but that’s not really the point. Zoho gives you the essentials, and quite a bit more, for free. And because it’s Web based, you can access your documents from any computer (Mac, Linux, or PC) and even share them with your friends. Also, you can import and export documents for use in Office or another program. You can even print to PDF. Google’s Docs and Spreadsheets service is simlar to Zoho, but not quite as full-featured. Microsoft will eventually offer its own version. But for now, nobody does Web Office better than Zoho.

Thanks, UHLC!

Zoho from around the net

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We are seeing Zoho gain good popularity among various cross sections of the net. Vinnie Mirchandhani, in a recent post of his has some good things to say about us. Some excerpts :

His [Sridhar's] view towards customers is epitomized in the quote from Gandhi on his site. His pricing philosophy is summarized in the guest column he wrote a few weeks ago. He sponsors Jambav a site aimed at kids for special needs. He hires teenage kids who realistically have zero hope of ever going to college and ever being hired by India’s services firms, and encourages them to code and test.

Ok, so he probably will never approach YouTube’s valuation and media appeal. But it sure is a treat to meet an entrepreneur who marches to a different beat. Customer before investor. R&D before marketing. Values before valuation.

Lee Lalka, a teacher from Korea has made good use of Zoho Show. He has got a couple of nice slide shows made up in his site, “The Wisdom Tree”. Look for the “What are you thankful for? Presentation” and “Thanksgiving Food – Presentation” links in this page.

Thomas McMahon in his “Blog on a Stick” blog is using Zoho Creator for tracking his bugs.

I’ve started a bug tracker application to keep all the bugs, and feature requests, for my Firefox themes in one place. My goal is to not miss out on any requests. Check out the full bug tracker or the quick submit bug form.Basically, just fill in a few fields, hit submit and I’ll be notified via email. It’s that easy. It’s even got a developer comments area where I can respond to any issues.

Ashish, in his Life 2.0 blog, finds Zoho Sheet perform much better than Google Spreadsheets.

I started with Zoho Sheet, since spreadsheets are my preferred format for documentation over plain (or formatted) text. The first thing that struck me was just how much more responsive it felt as compared to Google Spreadsheets. I had learned to ignore the lag I felt in Spreadsheets as a compromize for using a web app over a desktop one and expected the same, if not more from Sheet. Not done, the Chennai guys seem to believe. Zoho Sheet genuinely feels and responds as smoothly as a Microsoft Excel on my desktop!

He feels Zoho Writer is a tad slow though compared to Google Docs. Thanks Ashish, for doing the performance test and nice write-up. We will definitely be improving our performance as regards Zoho Writer to match, if not exceed our competitor’s. And thanks to Vinnie (and Zoli for arranging the meet), Thomas & Lee too!!

Zoho Planner – A Usability Update

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The latest update at Zoho Planner addresses some of the major usability issues that you users have pointed out. Though AJAX has been a boon for the whole web with its non-loading pages, easy drag-and-drop etc, it can cause problems too (as compiled in this famous list of Ajax Mistakes).

One of the major flaws was breaking the browser’s back button functionality. This is now addressed in Zoho Planner. You can now move from one page to another and use the browser’s Back/Forward buttons to navigate. Going further we will be addressing the intra-page navigation too and expect them to be carried over to other Zoho apps as well!

zoho-planner-toolbar

The top ‘Insert’ menu has given way for a sleek menu bar with direct links. The link to iCal has gone inside the ‘Settings’ menu and the Add List Item/Reorder have gone to the bottom of a list (they were on top previously).

zoho-planner-ical

zoho-planner-todos

Do give the new Zoho Planner a try and do let us know where we need to improve.

Yes, notify me of new features in Zoho Sheet!

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You can now sign up for our new notification service at our service’s home page!

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Just fill in your e-mail ID using the simple one-line form, and we will send you a (very) short notification e-mail once in a couple of weeks – updating you of the latest features added to your Zoho Sheet web service.

This way, you can easily keep track of features / functionality added to Zoho Sheet, as and when we roll them out – without having to keep checking the What’s New section upon your every visit.

Needless to say, we will NOT sell / share your e-mail ID with any other party, and we will NEVER spam you.

Happy spreadsheets to you! :)

Zoho Spottings

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Some excerpts from blogs around the net mentioning Zoho :

… from what I’ve seen, Zoho kicks Google’s ass in terms of features and usability. Zoho feels a lot like Microsoft Office, something which millions of computer users are sure to appreciate. Also, Google’s suite only offers two applications (word processing and spreadsheets) while Zoho has much, much more (presentations, planner, project management, instant messaging, etc.) and most of them are free.

I’d really like to see Zoho win this battle of the online office suites just so Google doesn’t dominate everything on the web.
- Mark Punzalan, The RubeCube

… there is never a day without something new from the folks at Zoho. If you’ve never checked out the many web-based tools that Zoho provides (all free) they are MORE than worth a look.
- Gary Price, ResourceShelf

… seems Zoho wants to be everything, offering writing, spreadsheet, presentations, and many other tools. Among the most distinctive and potentially useful is Zoho Creator, which allows one to import a spreadsheet, create attractive forms based on the spreadsheet, and have an online database application up and running in ten minutes or so.
- Jonathan Eunice, Illuminata

… there are so many options here from sharing, to creating templates to seeing the documents history (Psst — If mess up and save over an older version, I can revert back easily to the original too!) that I can really see why web applications are becoming so popular. They just make stuff so easy … and the best part is —– I don’t need to install any software!!!!! smile\

Try out Zoho! See for yourself —- It’s Free!
- Helene Blowers, PLCMC.org

Ken [Kenneth Hamma, keynote speaker at the Museum Computer Network conference] asked the audience to consider how much their institutions could save if they didn’t have to purchase, install, maintain and troubleshoot the Microsoft Office suite of products alone, and instead replaced it with online applications such as Zoho.
- HangingTogether.org

… these programs are slick, very user friendly, and definitely have me psyched about the possibiliy of a ready to go AJAX/Web 2.0 application and office suite.

They also include a very neat tool/option for small businesses and individuals called the Zoho Virtual Office, which acts a lot like your own desktop area to launch any of the previously mentioned Zoho Office programs, a calendar, scheduling items, a work space, and more.
- Bryan Allen, GatorBat’s Ed Tech Perspective

Here is what I am thinking: Next time when a frustrated library patron comes to me and ask where to work on his paper/presentation on our library public workstations, I may ask them, do you have a zoho account?
- Catch Up Library Learning 2.0

Also, Zoho forms a part of nice and huge list titled “Computer Tools that Support Learners“. And this post has colorful logos of different Zoho services pasted all over it.