Spot the changes in Zoho Chat

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Sound Notification

Due to overwhelming requests from our users, we have composed a new tone for sound notification (to indicate message/online/offline status). Hear it and let us know your feedback. Thanks to our own music director, Ramesh of Zoho Sheet, who made the composition :-)

Message Notification & Smileys

We have tuned the message notification a bit by scrolling the message on the title bar.

Zoho Chat now provides ways to express your emotions through glossy smileys. Don’t get surprised if you feel like it has got the ToonDoo flavor since we brought it out of their favor!


Zoho Chat is now available in two more languages other than English. Japanese gets the credit of the first non-English version of Zoho Chat followed by Tamil (I tried my hands on it, don’t know whether my Tamil teacher will be happy or worried on hearing this news ;-)). You will find more languages supported in our upcoming updates.

Note: As of now, you need to configure your browser’s default language for the corresponding translation. We are in the process of configuring it right inside Zoho Chat. Till then, please stay tuned.

Zoho Sheet : Search across your spreadsheets

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We recently supported content search of your spreadsheets in Zoho. Prior to this we searched only for the tags associated with files. Use the search field in the sidebar to search for spreadsheets matching the specified words. Right now this doesn’t search the spreadsheets shared to you.

With this, the search in will now search your spreadsheets too in addition to your documents and presentations in Zoho. Speaking of Zoho Start, your spreadsheets are now shown in a matching grey theme when opened from Zoho Start.

We also fixed a couple of bugs and made some performance improvements while signing in. Have a look at our What’s New page for more information. Let us know your feedback.

Recent Blog Posts on Zoho

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Sorry for being a bit late, the following are some of the blogs that were appreciative of Zoho last month. James Gaskin at NetworkWorld :

Zoho, the free personal service with their own applications like word processor, spreadsheet, online presentations, and web conferencing (as well as another 10 apps) now has a business service running as a beta test. Still free as a beta, it will cost something when it rolls out officially. Many small businesses feel the free Zoho applications provide enough features and collaboration for their use. Others feel Zoho Projects and Zoho CRM tools are worth paying for already.

Jim Benson at Evolving Web :

This morning, I woke to find myself greeted with Zoho‘s second anniversary. In much less time as Vista has been in production, Zoho has been formed and created a scary-massive suite of web-based and desktop-linkable programs that I’m becoming more and more in love with.

Zoho CRM – yes an entire CRM – is probably my favorite. I use it not just to manage Gray Hill’s customers, but also to manage everything I do. I’ve basically put my entire personal work flow into their CRM.

And Jay Fienberg, in a comment to the above post says,

We’ve switched from 37 Signals’ Basecamp to Zoho Projects for project management. And, without getting into nitpicky details about Basecamp vs Zoho Projects, I can say that I’d pretty consistently recommend Zoho Projects over Basecamp–and I’d recommend that people who feel limited by Basecamp switch to Zoho.

Actually, I’d probably say that Basecamp is a tool designed for tracking communications, and not so well designed for traditional task tracking. Zoho Projects is better designed for traditional task tracking, e.g., where you rely on multiple date-based, resource-based and milestone-based views of your project universe.

Pierre DeMontigny recommends Zoho as well :

Okay you are upgrading your computers and you jump at the cost of Microsoft Office licences. Have you thought about using an alternative such as OpenOffice or a totally online solution such as If you have checked Zoho a couple of years ago, make sure you check again. They have a very solid suite of applications. They also have launched a business version that is worth investigating. Who knows, Online Office Suites may be a real deal for the future.

Everton Blair and his team at Connected Internet list Zoho in their ‘The Best Free Software For Your Computer‘ :

Zoho: Currently the most powerful Office 2.0 suite in the market. What i like the most about Zoho, is that although it runs on the web, its set of features is rich, and would satisfy even the most enthusiastic MS Office user. It offers a Word processor , a Spreadsheet application (Excel like) ,a private beta of a new online mail application, and the extra slick Creator, and application that allows you to create a web form in seconds.

Cedarstreet Publishing has this to say :

Zoho is what Google’s productivity tools want to be when they grow up, and is the leather jacket wearing “cool kid” to Microsoft Office’s “The Man”. It’s a series of online tools which you’d find either online (like chat, wiki and mail) and offline (word processor, presentation tools and spreadsheets).I have tried Google’s offerings, and they’re OK: passable, actually, but hardly powerhouses. Office and it’s ilk are overwrought, and painfully isolated, locking you into a single computer unless you manually move your work from computer to computer.

Zoho is, at this moment, blowing my mind. I cannot believe that they fit this much STUFF into a single online suite, AND, more importantly, have added so many damn bells and whistles that one feels compelled to test each and every single one of them simply because they are legion and because they are so amazingly well done.

Peter of brain objects (a Zoho partner) heaps praise :

If you think Google has a nice suite of applications with their, Document (Word Processor), Spreadsheet, and Presentation, applications, you really will be in for a treat when you start using your very own, and/or co-branded set of complete web presence tools, and online legacy style office suite applications. Zoho is offering just that, all within one tightly integrated solution, which is unmatched on a global scale.

Zoho’s Word Processor, called Zoho Writer, is a feat in technological innovation with object layer control only seen in desktop drawing, and photo editing programs via the desktop, let alone a web browser. Additionally within Writer you can now email legal agreements written in Zoho Writer, and have them seamlessly digitally signed via a third party service called This is an astounding jump in productivity if you spend your life halfway between Microsoft Word, and a fax machine. Lawyers take note here.

More here and here. Martin Neumann at HomeOfficeVoice :

Zoho CRM is a classy bit of software that runs online (it’s hosted for you) or comes as a packaged version. Seeing we’re well into Web2.0 I’m going for the hosted version.

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is basically as it implies – it manages the customer relationship. That includes keeping detailed customer details for easy access and marketing campaign. It’s a marketers’ delight as you can run your campaigns, offer customer support and generally manage the whole customer management experience from the one place.

The Analytics and reporting tools are second to none and to top it all off you can get it to work with Outlook – and myself being a big time Outlook user, this is a big plus.

The tabbed interface makes it easy to navigate to the section you want.

I’ve only touched on a few of it’s features as really, you have to take a few hours and really dig deep to understand how powerful this application is. Regardless, I was so impressed with it that I’m seriously considering using it full time in my own business. Yes, there’s a bit of a learning curve involved but it’s pretty basic and a few hours should do the trick.

Another big plus: it’s FREE! You have full access, with all the features enabled for up to 3 users.

Hope you are reading this Martin – Don’t worry, we will continue to have the free version for Zoho CRM. And thanks to all bloggers using Zoho and writing about their experiences!

Scheduled Maintenance at Zoho

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We are upgrading our datacenter infrastructure and all Zoho services will be down on 13 Oct 2007, 10:00 hrs PDT to 16:00 hrs PDT. You will not be able to access Zoho during the above said time. Our sincere apologies for the inconvenience caused.

[Update @ 4:00 p.m PDT] Maintenance in our datacenter infrastructure has been completed. All Zoho services are now available.

Ask Zoho: What’s the difference between Zoho DB, Creator & Sheet?

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With the launch of Zoho DB & Reports on Wednesday, we now have 3 services that handle structured data. So the natural question that many people have asked is “What is the difference? Why have 3 services when one would do?”

Zoho Creator has gained considerable popularity as an online database and application creator. So it is particularly worth considering the difference between Zoho Creator and the new arrival Zoho DB. The primary objective of Zoho Creator is to be an online application creation environment, that happens to come bundled with a database to complete the application creation experience. We provide a variety of ways to import & export data, create views and so on, but Zoho Creator is not a reporting solution by itself, but a development environment . While the Zoho Creator database is an SQL engine underneath, the programmatic interface is not SQL, but Deluge, a scripting language we created, purpose built for easy application creation. Deluge is not primarily a query language, though it does integrate querying capabilities within, consistent with its mission to ease application development. Zoho Creator queries are primarily intended for application development purposes, so they are not as fancy as what you can do with SQL.

Zoho DB & Reports, is a database, that comes bundled with extensive reporting capability. Pivot tables, grouping, charts, SQL querying in multiple-dialects – these are some of the key features. What it does not provide is an application creation environment. It will provide APIs at the SQL level, so you can build applications backed by Zoho DB, in your own preferred language. With Zoho Creator, you have to use Deluge for the application creation, with the advantage that we host the application.

We will integrate Zoho Creator and DB in a future update, making it easy to create reports on the data your application generates in Creator. Initially the integration will focus on the data level, so your Creator application data is automatically available in DB, and eventually GUI level integration will also provided, so your applications can embed a Reports tab drawn from Zoho DB. Once such an integration happens, it would be possible for you have forms embedded in your website (coming from Creator) whose data is available for analysis in DB.

Now, the difference between Zoho Sheet & Zoho DB, particularly because DB adopts the familiar spreadsheet interface as a starting point. But once you dig deeper, you will realize that the products are quite different underneath. Some of the features of Zoho DB will eventually make their way into Sheet, and it will be possible to move some of the structured data from Sheet into DB, but the two products retain their distinctive core identity.

Extensive integration across these services is very much in our road map. We adopt a “depth-first” strategy – first evolve each of the products well, and then focus on integration.

Introducing Zoho Database & Reports

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Today, we are launching a new addition to the Zoho Suite – Zoho Database & Reports – An Online Database & Reporting Application.

Zoho Reports comes with a simple spreadsheet like user interface. You can create online databases and analyze your data using different views and charting tools. You can start by creating a database from an existing XLS/CSV/TSV files or by creating blank database. Once you have the data in the database, you can create different views and do visual analysis on the data in your database.

Zoho Reports lets you create multiple types of views – Tabular View, Chart View, Pivot View, Summary View etc from the ‘New’ button.

One of the core functionalities of Zoho Reports is Data Visualization. The ‘Chart View’ option enables you to visualize your data in simple charts. This complex functionality is simplified with a very simple Drag-n-Drop interface. You have to play with it to really know the power of this feature.

This drag-n-drop interface is also extended to creating ‘Pivot Tables’ in Zoho Reports.

One of the unique features of Zoho Reports is the ability to run SQL Queries of ANY dialect on the data. It understands SQL Queries/dialects from any of the supported databases which include Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, Sybase, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Informix and ANSI SQL. So you can run the SQL queries you already know on Zoho Reports data to create custom tables or reports.

Of course, once you have all the tables, views, charts etc created, you can share them with appropriate permissions or make them public (checkout existing public databases). You can also embed these views and charts on your website or blogs. Here is a sample chart from one of our public databases that has info on the population.

You can start playing with the application with your existing Zoho ID @ But wait….before you hop on, we recommend viewing the video below for a quick intro on the capabilities of the application.

Now that the application is out, this will open up new possibilities for integration across other Zoho apps. Stay tuned on that front. Meanwhile, do play with this new app and let us know your feedback.

ComputerWorld: Zoho Creator among five free web apps we can’t live without

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Sharon Machlis from ComputerWorld has a good article on “Five free Web apps we can’t live without‘. It includes Zoho Creator as one of the five apps. We are very glad to see the app picking up many users and fans along its journey. As Sharon notes…

Unlike word processors or wikis, I haven’t seen a flood of free Web sites for building database-driven applications. The few other database entries I’d tried were generally either limited, expensive or cumbersome. But not Zoho Creator.

Zoho Creator sports a surprisingly easy interface for creating your own apps — even those that include some table joins (that is, looking up information in one table for use in another, which helps put the “relational” in relational databases). With a few drag-and-drops, I quickly created data entry forms with text fields, drop-down lists, text boxes and so on.

My test applications ranged from simple (tracking charitable contributions) to complex (story tracking by writer, editor and status), and all ended up doing pretty much what I wanted.

Full writeup on Zoho Creator is here.

Zoho Creator is one of the early Zoho products (actually, its research stage pre-dates Zoho). It has come a long way these couple of years and it certainly has miles to go.

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