Brainshark has offered a very popular on-demand presentations service for enterprises. While most web services today typically start out by offering free services and then slowly move towards offering paid features, Brainshark is turning this model on its head. While the company already offers a profitable paid product, Brainshark just launched a free version of its service today. MyBrainshark, as this new service is called, was built on top of Brainshark's enterprise product. In terms of its features, MyBrainshark clearly takes on Slideshare and similar services head-on, though the company is mostly targeting business customers for now.For the last 10 years,
While Slideshare also allows its users to upload audio, Brainshark makes this exceptionally easy, as users can actually record their talks right from their phones. MyBrainshark supports PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and PDF documents, as well as most popular video and image formats. These documents can be up to 100MB in size. Once you have uploaded a document, you can either add audio tracks by uploading additional MP3 files or you can call Brainshark and record the presentation over the phone.
Focus on Narration
As Brainshark's CEO Joe Gustafson and David Klein, the company's product director, pointed out when we talked to them last week, today's presentations at conferences or business meetings either include too much information per slide or consist of nothing more than just a few words and images per slide. While it is great that a lot of speakers make their presentations available after a public talk, most of these slides mean very little without the narration of the presenter. By giving presenters a wide range of options to add narration to their slides and to add videos and other documents, myBrainshark hopes to bring this context back to these disembodied presentations.
In comparison with Slideshare, myBrainshark is more flexible when it comes to how a presentation can be organized. Inside your presentation, you can easily switch back and forth between documents (Brainshark supports Office 2003 and 2007) and videos, for example. A Brainshark presentation doesn't even have to include a PowerPoint file - you can also use the service to voice-annotate a whitepaper, for example, or to narrate that exciting Excel spreadsheet you worked on all weekend long.
Focus on Professionals
While the company is mostly targeting business users - something that's clearly in Brainshark's DNA - users can also easily create a photo slideshow with the service. While Brainshark is marketing this feature as an opportunity for real-estate agents to showcase their offerings, nobody is going to stop you from putting up a narrated slideshow of your latest family picnic, either.
MyBrainshark also gives professionals the ability to sell their presentations. While anybody can register for a free account, Brainshark will give professionals the opportunity to go through a vetting process and then sell their presentations on the site. One example currently available on the service is a presentation about sexual harassment prevention for managers, which is selling for $15. These professionals (Brainshark calls them 'Learning Providers') can set their own prices for these presentations.
Overall, the fact that Brainshark has been in this business for 10 years clearly shows in the product, which is very polished. Even though it only offers a subset of the features available in Brainshark's enterprise product, myBrainshark still offers more features and flexibility than most other online presentation services.