TransMedia Pulls Trigger on Collaborative Word Processing

Glide 2.0 has work to do before it challenges Microsoft Office, but Google should be looking over its shoulder.

Software startup TransMedia is looking to crack into the cluttered market for word processing software with a new product tailored for the increasingly mobile workforce.

TransMedia introduced its Glide Write 2.0 operating system and word processor on August 28, billing the software as a "mobile collaborative platform" that lets users create, edit and share rich documents from their desktop or mobile device.

The software, which the company is offering as an alternative to Microsofts Office productivity software, as well as Googles Docs & Spreadsheets software and other collaboration technologies, includes e-mail, project management and live conferencing to allow both Glide users and non-users to work together on documents.


Read more here about how IBM is shining the spotlight on Web collaboration.

But unlike most other collaboration products, Glide Write 2.0 lets users individually create viewing, download, modify and upload rights for users.

Users can control the number of document views and downloads allowed and set limits on file uploads by other users, as well as control the time period that documents can be accessed by other users and add password protection. Users can also alter or revoke access rights to documents at any time.

TransMedia Chairman and CEO Donald Leka told eWEEK in a phone call from London that Glide Write 2.0 also allows users to share documents with assigned rights in video, audio and text chats.

"You can create multimedia documents, and these sorts of things are very difficult to do with Microsoft Word today," Leka said.

"For example, with Glide if you upload a video that you want to add to your document, Glide automatically transcodes it and converts it into a format that can integrate it into the document, whereas if you wanted to integrate a QuickTime movie into a Word document, its a pain in the neck," Leka added.

To that end, Glide Write 2.0 converts all files and creates a selection of file sizes to insert into documents, including photos, music, videos, documents, Glide Web sites, Glide blogs, RSS feeds and contacts. Moreover, users can easily export Glide Write documents to Microsoft Word, PDF and RTF formats.

Other perks for Glide OS include local desktop synchronization, allowing users to synchronize their documents for online and offline access from Windows, Mac and Linux PCs.

Spreadsheets are getting in on the action, too. Beginning September 26, Leka said TransMedia will launch local word processing and spreadsheet applications for Windows, Mac and Linux PCs leveraging a single code base.


To read a review of the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack, click here.

All of this is done without a browser plug-in such as Google Gears, which Leka said is not designed to support complex software applications.

"The problem with the browser plug-in approach is that its inherently limited, so we decided to code our local versions of the apps in C/C++, the idea being we can leverage a single code base for Linux, the Mac and Windows."

Glide Write documents are also accessible for viewing and editing on more than 50 smart phones, including Apples iPhone, and several RIM Blackberry, Palm Treo, Samsung and Nokia devices.

In a scenario of how local desktop synchronization works, Leka said a user could be working offline on an airplane to Tokyo.

When the user gets to the hotel, he or she can get online and TransMedias Live synchronization technology uploads files to servers. As a result, the files are both local and online. Once the user is online, he or she can then access files from the cell phone.

Glad Write 2.0 is free with 2 GB (gigabytes) of storage. Users who want additional storage can buy another 10 GB for $5 per month or $50 for the year. TransMedia also plans to launch domain next month to allow small businesses to sign up and administer accounts online.

With Glide 2.0, TransMedia, which is based in New York, is nothing if not ambitious. Leka noted that the company just got Grey Advertising to agree to use Glide 2.0.

Leka added that TransMedia fully expects to challenge Microsoft, Google and other office productivity providers in the enterprise.

"We dont see Google Spreadsheets at all," Leka said. "On the other hand, they resent Microsoft so much. CIOs tell me "the last licensing deal I did with Microsoft cost me $130 million. Theyre looking for an alternative and they hadnt seen it yet [until Glide]."


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