Today Google finally delivered on their promise to release an iOS version of Google Slides. It is free, available in the App Store right now, and joins Docs, Sheets and Drive as part of Google’s productivity apps for the iPad and iPhone. Is it any good? Here are some initial thoughts I had after trying it out this afternoon.
It is great to have the ability to create and edit Google Presentations on the iPad, but you probably won’t rush to uninstall Keynote, PowerPoint or even Haiki Deck just yet. Why? Well, although you do have some basic formatting and editing features built-in, Slides still lacks some basics that you might expect to find in an interactive iPad presentation app.
For instance, you only get one theme to choose from when you create a new Presentation. That theme is not even a theme really because it is just a collection of white slides. Another drawback is the inability to add images or video. There is no option to browse the camera roll for media, or even to copy and paste images from other sources.
When you come to present, you can see your speaker notes in the editor mode, but not in presentation mode. That’s a little odd. There are also no annotation tools or laser pointers that you find in the presentation modes of other apps. There are also no transitions or animations.
However, it’s not all bad news. You can create and edit Presentations offline. You can collaborate with others in real time and see their edits right before your eyes as they happen. There are a limited number of formatting options that can be used to make your Presentation more stylish and original, and it is very easy to add and sort your slides.
There is the same multi-user option that you get in other Google apps for the iPad, as well as the ability to edit PowerPoint files that you have uploaded to Drive. Lastly, if you are used to the other Google Drive Apps for iPad, you will find Slides easy to navigate and find your way around.
So, all in all it is a decent app, and great to have it finally have it make its way to the iPad. However, there is surely more to come because right now it is not really useful for much more than a few quick edits on the go. Yes you can collaborate with others, and edit PowerPoints stored in Drive, but the lack of multimedia uploads or presentation options are hard to ignore.
If I was creating a presentation on the iPad tomorrow, I would absolutely use something else. Keynote is fantastic. The new PowerPoint app is good too. Flowboard is another app worth looking at. But Google will know this, and updates will surely soon follow to make Slides more competitive with other presentation apps for the iPad.