Google has expanded its Google Docs offerings to include a new presentation feature, aka Alternative-to-PowerPoint. Y’know, I don’t mind Google emulating Microsoft Office via Web applications, but if I ever log in to my Google account and see Clippy? I’m running away screaming.
Anyway, you’ll need a Google account to start using Google Presentations. Log in to http://docs.google.com/, go to your Documents page, and choose New Presentation. If you’ve ever used PowerPoint, what you see will be familiar — a blank slide that you can add text to, add bullets, do highlighting, add links, etc. There’s a way to change a theme, but I didn’t see a way to change a template. You can copy existing slides however so maybe you’d set the first file up as a template, copy as many as you need, and then fill them up with your content.
Google’s presentations can also be imported from existing PowerPoint files. I tried uploading an old PowerPoint presentation from Web Search University and it came out perfect — with the caveat that I do very simple presentations — no funky transitions or odd formatting. Your mileage may vary if you get fancy.
Google’s presentations can be edited by multiple users in real-time, as can other file formats under Google Docs. Of course presentations are just that — presentations. A presenter can lead a slideslow with participants connected through Google Talk and able to chat as the presentation proceeds. you can also save the presentation as a ZIP file (which looks like it resolves to an HTML file and images) or view it in a printable format.
As you might expect, presentations doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you’d see in client-side software, but it’s very functional. The biggest challenge for me would be to find a conference presenter who’s willing to accept a presentation in something OTHER than PowerPoint format.