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April 17, 2007

Google Buys PowerPoint Solutions

Google bought Tonic Systems, a company specialized in Java solutions for PowerPoint.

"Tonic Systems is a San Francisco-based company that provides Java presentation automation products and solutions for document management (...). Features of their products included text extraction for indexing documents, presentation creation capabilities and document conversion tools."

Their most important products are:
  • TonicPoint Builder - Java library to programmatically read, create and manipulate presentations.

  • TonicPoint Transformer - Java library to convert presentations into images (e.g. PNG, BMP and JPEG), PDF documents, Macromedia Flash (SWF) and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG).

  • TonicPoint Filter - Java library to extract text from presentations with full contextual data. The text extraction library orders and organizes the text into its proper position relative to the other information. The output retains the vital information such as which text is on which slide, which are the master slides, which notes belong to which slide, and more.

  • TonicPoint Viewer - Free PowerPoint viewer application for Windows, Mac, and Unix.

This straightforward presentation should be enough to realize that Google bought this company to integrate a PowerPoint-like tool in Google Docs. The official Google blog announces that the presentation tool will be launched this summer.

The question is why Google decided to buy yet another company when they've already developed Google Presently, which seemed an extension of Writely, but probably not powerful enough. It's interesting to see Google buying a lot of companies to accelerate the development of already existing products. This trend shows an impatient Google who wants to build everything, but relies more and more on external resources.

"TonicPoint Viewer, a standalone Java application that allows you to open and view PowerPoint presentations on any platform. The Viewer supports the standard PowerPoint file format used by PowerPoint 97, 2000, XP, 2003, etc. The Viewer uses TonicPoint Transformer technology to display sharp, crisp images of your slides."


Update: Here's an online application created by TonicPoint that will be used for Google's PowerPoint (the link doesn't work anymore, but I've got some screenshots).




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