Saturday, Dec 10, 2022 | Last Update : 03:20 PM IST

  Technology   In Other news  18 Feb 2019  AI AI Yo! Zoho – India’s first AI-based Office Suite

AI AI Yo! Zoho – India’s first AI-based Office Suite

DECCAN CHRONICLE | ANAND PARTHASARATHY
Published : Feb 18, 2019, 8:04 am IST
Updated : Feb 18, 2019, 8:53 am IST

Engineers at two Tamil Nadu centres of Zoho, have created India's first Web-based, AI-driven Office Suite, to take on global biggies.

From left: Rakeeb Rafeek, Shyamala Ramesh, Sridhar Vembu, Karthikeyan Jambulingam, Sripathy Ramesh and Ashok Ramamurthy, the creative leadership of the Zoho Office Suite. (Photo- Anand Parthasarathy)
 From left: Rakeeb Rafeek, Shyamala Ramesh, Sridhar Vembu, Karthikeyan Jambulingam, Sripathy Ramesh and Ashok Ramamurthy, the creative leadership of the Zoho Office Suite. (Photo- Anand Parthasarathy)

That old software tool critical to desktop computing -- the Office Suite -- has reinvented itself for an always-on Internet Age. The gold standard used to be Microsoft (or MS) Office, a bulky package that cost more than the Windows system it ran on -- and sucked away a lot of disk space. Then came Google's challenger, Google Docs which expanded into G Suite, not quite as elaborate as Microsoft's suite, but free for lay users and being entirely Web-based, took no space on your device. Newer avatars of MS Office like Office 360, embraced this Web-only way, but you now paid a monthly subscription.

As netbooks and laptops became thinner and smaller -- with no room on board for full-fledged office tools -- and as more people began using a mobile phone as a primary work tool -- the field was wide open for a challenger who would retain the agility of a Web based office suite across multiple devices and still provide some of the improvements that Artificial Intelligence bringing to the cell phone. In other words, a Web-based, AI-fuelled office suite for today's mobile user.

Such a suite has been in the making for almost a decade, with little publicity at the Chennai and Tenkasi centres of Indian business productivity solutions leader, Zoho. A few days ago, the latest edition of the Zoho Office Suite was unveiled world-wide. It's modestly priced for enterprises, but free for individual users like you and me.

I went to the www.zoho.com/office site and with minimum registration hassle, I could start using 4 tools: Zoho Writer, Zoho Sheet and Zoho Show which can be loosely compared to MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint, and a fourth called Zoho Notebook which is a cooler tool than any quick note software I have ever used. Crawling through all four tools is a very clever AI agent called Zia and she is one smart lady! Just one example. After creating a document in Writer, click on the Zia button and she will size up your text like a strict English school ma'am: correcting your grammar, suggesting improvements to writing quality, rapping your knuckles ( figuratively!) if you threw in too much cliche, breaking overlong sentences to keep them short-n-sweet and rating your creation for overall readability. No jokes! I got just 30 out a possible 60 overall rating for my last masterpiece and am suitably humbled.

With Zoho Sheet the AI kicks in to fix any missing values, erroneous data entry and typo errors. The presentation tool Zoho Show, allows a level of visual sophistication, I have never experienced -- and most usefully, you can save and make your presentation directly on an Android or Apple smart TV. Throw that projector away! Zoho Notebook is full of useful goodies -- like being able to create your own smart cards, grabbing visuals, text, even voice and whipping them into a new document.

Zoho realises many users will still need to work with established standards like 'doc' , 'xls' and 'ppt' -- the new suite lets you import files with any of these formats and save them the same way. Perhaps the biggest plus is that it works in all the major Indian and international languages as well. You can say it in any language -- but I think the new Zoho Office Suite for a Connected Age has already earned a big shabaash. Try it today and see if you agree

—IndiaTechOnline

Tags: zoho, office suite