03 June 2008

Them's Fightin Words, Zoho

A couple of weeks ago, I read that online productivity suite Zoho now integrated with your Google ID. I thought that was pretty odd, since most people - like me - with a Google ID would probably already be using Google Docs. But as I read on, I saw this quote from Zoho evangelist Raju Vegesna

One thing we noticed is, when users try both Zoho and Google, more than 70% of them prefer Zoho. It made sense for us to do this. We want more users to try our apps.

So, it seemed like a good time to try Zoho. I had been initially annoyed by the dearth of features on Google Docs when I started with them over a year ago. But when I came back to good old Google about 6 months later, I was pretty pleased. However, as with all shiny new toys, eventually the love started to fade a bit and I began to see the flaws. Most annoying was the horrific tables support. When I tried to nest tables, everything just went to hell. And importing DOC and DOCX files with tables in them always yielded unexpected results.

So I gave Zoho a go. I immediately saw that there were more buttons in the GUI, while Google hides all but the most common features behind menus. Unfortunately, two really important buttons appear to be missing (or very well hidden in the clutter) - Paste as Plain Text and Remove All Formatting. At first, I dismissed this as a little thing, but it has become more and more frustrating over the past two weeks.
However, two great features far outshone this minor glitch. First is Templates. The second is Tables support. Google Docs has really abysmal support for nested tables. I know I mentioned that about a paragraph ago, but it really bugs me.
What ultimately keeps me from making the switch is the unfathomable fact that Zoho does not auto-save as I work. Wha? That's just not right. Google Docs is constantly saving new versions that I can quickly revert to if I make a mistake. Why wouldn't Zoho do this, too?

For now, I am sticking with both - using the appropriate tool at the appropriate time. Zoho is good, but not so good that I am willing to completely jump ship.

PS I aspire to have the job title "evangelist" one of these days.