Editor’s note: With this post we welcome Thursday Bram to the WebWorkerDaily team. Thursday is a full-time writer who has written on topics ranging from small business to kitchen appliances — and yes, that includes the kitchen sink. She’s based in Laurel, Maryland and focuses most of her writing online.
Adobe (s adbe) is adding to options for working in the cloud with Acrobat.com. About a year ago, Acrobat.com went online, competing with Google Docs (s goog) and Zoho with word processing, collaboration options and tools to work with PDFs. Since then, Adobe had also added Presentations to the mix.
The news at Acrobat.com is twofold. First of all, Adobe has added a new spreadsheet tool, bringing its suite of online tools in line with those offered by Google (s goog) and making it far more useful to a web worker who wants to handle all of the basic office file types in the cloud. Second, Adobe has announced that Acrobat.com is leaving beta, which, in turn, has led to the announcement that business subscriptions for these tools are going live.
The new developments at Acrobat.com make for some changes that actually appeal to anyone who works online for a living. Google Docs has been a long-time favorite for managing personal files or even handling certain projects, but it has some shortfalls when it comes to managing business files over the long term. Even the simple ability to save a PDF can make a big difference for users that handle the majority of their daily work online. But Adobe will be taking the usefulness of its online tools a step further. It has already announced plans to launch a desktop AIR application that unifies its online tools and offers a way to work offline — and you’ll be able to share workspaces through the application. All these developments make it clear that Adobe is targeting professional web workers far more than Google Docs does.
While Acrobat.com is adding paid subscriptions to the site, there will still be free accounts available. The subscription choices — Basic for $14.99, and Plus for $39 — primarily offer the opportunity to share web meetings with more participants and other collaboration options, and offer more support. Proper support can make Acrobat.com’s tools more appealing to many businesses than its competitors. While Google Apps remains an alternative, tools like the desktop application may be more than enough to lead some users to make the switch.
The interfaces for each of Acrobat.com’s tools could be enough to convince a person to switch all on their own. The simple fact is that most online applications have interfaces that mimic their offline counterparts to some extent. More than a few word processing options have a definite similarity to Microsoft Word (s msft), for example. Acrobat.com’s options, however, offer interfaces that appeal to users that have long since tired of that appearance. The interface for Presentations, for instance, is slick and intuitive — there is a learning curve when you make the switch from another application, but it’s fairly shallow. It’s almost as if Adobe created Presentations with a few of its other users in mind, like those already using the company’s design software.
Acrobat.com reports that it already has 5 million accounts registered, and is picking up 100,000 users each week. With Adobe’s focus on professional users already working online, it’s likely that number will continue to grow. The tools offered on Acrobat.com are sturdy enough for business use, with an interface that is enjoyable to use.
Do you use Acrobat.com? Let us know your thoughts on the service in the comments.