Slideshare is growing and may even have become the leading pure play online presentations app [Update: Zoli Erdos points out in the comments that Slideshare doesn't allow you to create online presentations, only share them - which is a key point that I forgot to mention initially]. Two years ago I lamented the shortage of 'online powerpoint' services and noted that it was a product category "up for grabs" in the Web Office market. But now it is flourishing - Web Office leaders Google and Zoho both have good online slideshow offerings and there is no shortage of other startups doing it. But Slideshare is the service that is grabbing attention, perhaps due to its focus on sharing and community.
Both Marshall and I have picked up on its popularity in recent weeks. And judging by the amount of Slideshare embedded presentations in blogs that I've come across lately, we're not the only ones. Let's take a closer look at Slideshare's rise...
Firstly Compete's data shows that Slideshare has been ramping up:
I have to note though that Scribd, which allows you to upload any type of document (not just presentations), is also ramping up according to Compete. The following chart shows that Scribd is far more popular than Slideshare:
Nevertheless there's no doubt that Slideshare is growing. I would guess that it is the leading pure play online presentations app - but please leave a comment if you think otherwise.
What impresses me about Slideshare is that it has a thriving community. I uploaded my Media08 presentation, Web Technology Trends for 2008 and Beyond, to Slideshare (link) a couple of weeks ago and within days it had thousands of views and some comments. As of today it has been favorited 49 times and embedded (in other blogs etc) 67 times. I also noticed many people friending me via Slideshare. This tells me the community at Slideshare is vibrant and they enjoy viewing and discussing slideshows.
Slideshare has some neat features: tags, ability to post to various sites such as Facebook and Blogger.com, good privacy options, transcription of the slideshows, widgets, and more.
The Groups feature is something that could be utilised by a lot of people. For example the XMediaLab group nicely rounds up all of the presentations from the recent Media08 event that I presented at. So if you weren't in Sydney to attend that event, you can at least browse through all of the presentations (and if new media is your thing, it's well worth your time!).
Individuals can also make use of Slideshare to store all of their public presentations - check out Dave McClure's large collection for example.
If you needed any more proof that Slideshare rocks, they also have an API - check out SlideShare Karaoke, which ProgrammeableWeb describes as "a PowerPoint mixer to select a PowerPoint presentation on the fly from SlideShare".
Slideshare isn't perfect, e.g. it currently doesn't convert from Mac Keynote. It may not even have the biggest store of online slideshows - Google, Zoho, Scribd are just a few competitors that potentially have more. Also let's not forget (as I almost did!) that Slideshare is a slideshow sharing app, not a creation one like many of the others. But even given all of that, Slideshare looks to have tipped amongst the hip web 2.0 crowd; and more importantly it has built up its own community of presentation-lovers.
What app(s) do you use for online presentations?