Adobe, a company known for their extensive portfolio of desktop based products for print and web design, is working hard to bring some of their software tools to the cloud.
Buzzword, an online word processor that later transformed into Acrobat.com, was probably the first cloud-based product from Adobe. Then came Photoshop Express, an online image editor that you could use to quickly fix your photos in the browser itself.
These products were useful with an innovative user interface, but nothing revolutionary. Services like Google Docs and Picnik had been there for a while and offered far more features than the corresponding Adobe tools. Project Rome, Adobe’s latest design tool for consumers, is however different.
With Project Rome, you can create presentations, scrapbooks, Flash based websites and much more, inside an intuitive and beautiful interface that involves no learning curve. You may either use the online version of Project Rome ,that requires no installation, or get the AIR based app that will work even while you are offline.
There’s a library of templates to get you started quickly or you can go with a blank canvas. There are built-in tools to help you add text, shapes, freehand drawings, etc. to your slides or you can even import content directly from the Internet.
The tool is integrated with Google Images, YouTube and Google Maps so you can easily find and add photographs, videos or maps to your project without leaving the application. When searching for images, it will automatically restrict to content that’s under Creative Commons and labeled for commercial reuse with modification.
Project Rome includes support for basic SWF animations that you can apply to any object by adding new keyframes in the timeline. You may rotate objects, make them move around a path, change their scale over time and more.
You can export your designs as PDFs, JPEGs or HTML web pages where the slides are embedded as Flash movies. If you have embedded YouTube videos and other “live content” in your slide, you may also go for the Interactive PDF format that is supported in Adobe Reader 9 and later.
Project Rome will remain free during the preview period. Here’s a short video: