Like everything else from Adobe, it is a real pleasure working with every single component of Acrobat online. The interface is very well designed, the various features work just as expected and those visual effects make this suite all the more attractive.
And Adobe Buzzword is probably the only online word processor that can read as well as write files in the new docx format of Microsoft Office Word 2007.
The upcoming Adobe Reader 9 is tightly integrated with acrobat.com such that you can share PDF files on the web from the desktop itself.
I have been playing with acrobat.com for few hours and have found certain limitations that are difficult to ignore:
1. The PDF conversion engine of acrobat.com allows you to convert only up to 5 documents into PDF online. Am not sure why Adobe has imposed this low limit when services like Google Docs, Zamzar or Scribd offer unlimited conversions.
2. Adobe Acrobat.com offers 5 GB of free online storage but you cannot upload audio or video files including Adobe’s own Flash video format. You may however store PDFs, Office documents, images, Adobe formats (like Photoshop, Illustrator) and SWF files.
3. While you may upload documents to Acrobat.com in bulk using the web browser or by dragging them into the Acrobat AIR app, uploading files via email is currently not possible.
4. With 5 GB of storage space, you can literally upload thousands of files to your Acrobat.com account but managing so many files can get extremely tough because everything gets stored at one place – you can’t tag documents or arrange them in folders.
5. There’s no search feature in acrobat.com – forget searching inside the documents, there’s no option to search for file names even.
6. Adobe Acrobat.com offers an excellent file preview feature where you can read Office documents in the browser itself but the problem is that it renders everything in Flash. You therefore cannot copy-paste text or images from the documents without downloading them locally.
7. Each document on acrobat.com has its own unique web address but since you can publish documents as HTML web pages, the content will remain inaccessible on most mobile phone that cannot understand Flash (like my BlackBerry).
8. While you can upload files to acrobat.com in bulk via the browser or desktop, the reverse is is not possible. It is not possible to export all documents out of Acrobat.com in one go though you can download them one by one. A similar issue exists in Google Docs as well.
It goes without saying that Adobe, with the launch of acrobat.com, is very serious about the web office space. The product is impressive (especially document collaboration) but I think Adobe still has some way to go before we can call it a threat to competing products like Google Docs, WebEx, Microsoft Office or even Scribd as some people are saying on Techmeme.