Talking Tech Friday – Zoho

Just to prove that Google doesn’t rule the world, I thought I would do a brief overview of the Zoho suite of online tools.

What is it?

As mentioned above, Zoho has a suite of online office tools, including (but not limited to) a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, wiki, planner, meetings, and polls. It actually existed before Google Docs, and now provides a very competitive alternative.

How does it work?

Zoho allows you to create a new account, or log in using an existing Google or Yahoo account. Because it’s a large suite of tools, I’m just going to do a quick overview of a few.

Zoho Writer is the word processor. Like Google Docs, you can upload previously created .doc files from your computer or start them online, and also the ability to export them back to your computer. A detailed side-bar lists your documents, documents that you share with others and any collaborators you’ve added. Zoho Writer offers a broader variety of formatting options than Google Docs, closer to Microsoft Word, and it fully integrates with other Zoho applications. A feature that is immediately intriguing to me is the ability to post directly to your blog from Zoho Writer – allowing a more user-friendly WYSIWYG interface and taking advantage of the additional formatting options. I might have to take advantage of this.

It’s easy to switch to another application, so next up is Zoho Sheet, the spreadsheet option. It looks very much like Excel, and also allows you to import or export .xls files from or to your computer. You can embed sheets into a blog or website, collaborate with others, and use a broader variety of tools than with Google Spreadsheets, including macros. One feature I just noticed here, and is the same for Writer, is you can export in a wide variety of formats, including .xls, xml, html, pdf, open office, etc. Very handy!

Moving away from a direct Google Doc comparison, the next application I looked at is Zoho Wiki. (I just realized that I’ve never reviewed a wiki app for TTF – will need to remedy this). The wiki uses a nicer WYSIWYG interface than many wiki or blog editing applications I’ve seen. No silly wiki text markup (the bane of my existence), and it looks nicer to me than the PB Wiki design. However, the wiki allows you to choose your own editor, set your own brand and logo, and manage editing and viewing permissions. I created a quick one for the MCLC Tech Talk, so maybe we’ll try using it for some future business.

Zoho Meeting is a meeting application – its primary features include voice integration with Skype, desktop sharing, and a chat room. You schedule a meeting and invite participants.  The only requirement is you have to download a flash plugin to run the meeting, but Zoho makes it very simple to figure out.

I’m also interested in Zoho’s DB & Reporting, Zoho Projects, and Zoho Planner, but will have to save any reviews for another day.

Possible Library Uses

Anything that I recommended for Google Docs & Spreadsheets is equally applicable for Zoho, with the addition of the other features of the Zoho Suite that aren’t included in Google, such as the wiki.  I confess that I have been using Google Docs quite a bit, but am definitely interested in the wealth of options available in Zoho.  I have also been looking for a wiki application that didn’t drive me crazy, and at first glance, the Zoho wiki seems to be a good candidate for my uses.  Of course, only time will tell.

Reviews

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~ by Anali on May 23, 2008.

3 Responses to “Talking Tech Friday – Zoho”

  1. Thank for the pointer. I’ll definitely check it out. Here’s the thing I would recommend for you to look at – Wrike.

  2. Zoho offers excellent suits and I have been using some: Zoho Writer and Zoho Sheet. However they have great competitors in the project management market. I personally like and use because it’s free and has the functionalities my company needs: projects, tasks, timesheets, expense reports, issue tracking, wikis…

    /Biba

  3. We’ve been using Zoho to test out Wiki usage for staff. So far it’s worked great. I tried out several other wiki engines and Zoho has been by far the easiest to use. It allows pastes from Word documents nearly flawlessly (even with bullets!), the WYSIWYG is very straightforward and yes, no wiki text! I also love how searchable your wiki is. I haven’t even bothered with tags since staff can keyword the whole thing and get good results in a very short period of time.

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