SlideShare is the most popular social site for presentations on the Web. Microsoft PowerPoint - despite its detractors - remains the most popular presentation software around. What if those two had the power to work together? What if sharing new PowerPoint presentations was as easy as clicking a button?
Now, it can be. Today, SlideShare is introducing the "SlideShare Ribbon" an add-in that makes the sharing and social features of SlideShare accessible without even leaving PowerPoint.
Using the SlideShare Ribbon, users gain the ability to share presentations from within PowerPoint, update existing presentations with new content, search existing SlideShare presentations for examples, download SlideShare content for remixing, and view presentations from contacts and groups. User can also check their SlideShare statistics from within PowerPoint.
In short, SlideShare makes PowerPoint social.
That's what makes this release so interesting. SlideShare has taken the opportunity to move beyond browser development - the traditional home of social features - to work on a different piece of desktop software. And in PowerPoint, SlideShare has chosen an app that, by and large, has not been seen as a venue for social behavior, at all.
The idea of using PowerPoint to access Web resources isn't earth shattering. Microsoft has provided the ability to dynamically download PowerPoint clip art for quite some time. But that has always been within the realm of delivering Microsoft content to the user. This is the first time that those types of Web-based interactions have taken on more of a social-networking context - by delivering and sharing content from a variety of users. And that suddenly casts all desktop software in a new light - no matter how "unsocial" a particular app may seem.
No doubt this is just the first of many such add-ins that will imbue our most used applications with social features. And that will make even the most tedious of applications increasingly valuable to us.
To install the SlideShare Ribbon, you'll need to PowerPoint 2007, Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, and .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.