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Summary:

Collaboration is in full swing on the web, for both social and work-oriented purposes. Most of us can rattle off the well-known applications that are available, but there are many targeted, useful collaboration apps that are more offbeat. Here are 10, many of them free.

Collaboration is in full swing on the web, for both social and work-oriented purposes. Most of us can rattle off the well-known applications that are available, but there are many targeted, useful collaboration apps that are more offbeat. Here are 10 of them, many of them free.

Redliner. If you’ve ever tried to collaborate with others on documents over email, you know that version control problems and many other issues can arise. Redliner is becoming one of the more popular online tools to get around these problems. Unlike, say, Google Docs, it offers a complete commenting and revision system. Check it out in the screencast here. Redliner is currently being beta tested and you can use it for free, although it will eventually move to a paid monthly model.

doingText. Also on the document collaboration front, doingText has steadily grown into a robust, hosted platform. It’s available in a version for $5 a month, and you can share documents via randomly generated, unique URL.

Kablink. Kablink is a free and open source collection of collaboration components that lets groups work offline and online. When work is produced offline, it can automatically be synced with other users’ work online. Conferencing and wiki-like features are available.

Collanos Workspace. The motto of the Collanos Workspace free, open source collaboration platform is “Think outside the inbox.” To set up a team work environment, you click Create Space and begin inviting people. You can post files of many formats to collaborate on, instant message while you work and track pending tasks.

PBworks. At November’s Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco, the folks behind PBWiki announced the addition of real-time collaboration tools to their wiki platform. The new PBworks suite of tools includes in-app instant messaging, live notifications of changes to an organization’s workspaces, live editing of documents and voice collaboration. There are also business and legal document templates available in an online store. Businesses, legal firms and schools pay just a few dollars per month per user (pricing varies by package) for PBWorks’ hosted collaboration apps.

Drop.io. The free file-sharing service Drop.io is used by many editors and writers across The GigaOM Network to easily upload files that can be shared with collaborators by simply providing a short URL to visit. Drop.io also now offers real-time collaboration features for tasks such as sharing files during phone conferences.

Socialtext. Based on the concept of combining a wiki with a blog, Socialtext provides an enterprise-level group collaboration platform. Every person who is a member of an organization’s Socialtext account gets their own dashboard –- or personal homepage –- where they can embed and arrange via drag-and-drop both personal and work information, images, and widgets. Email and microblogging are also integrated with the platform in useful ways. Socialtext is free for groups of 50 users or fewer who want basic features, and reasonably priced fee-based packages with all the bells and whistles are available.

e-tipi. e-tipi incorporates elements of Twitter, Digg, wikis and blogs to create a shared workspace through which ideas are fleshed out. Each user page is called a tipi, and it contains various ideas submitted by the tipi’s users. You can export data to HTML for sharing on web pages, too. You can watch a demo here, and free accounts are available.

MemberHub. Group management and communication service MemberHub equips users with dashboards, discussion forums, shared calendars and many other tools for sharing ideas and collaborating. You can see how it works in this video, and pricing is found here, including a free version. 10 cents per person per month, purchased in blocks of 100.

Colaab. If you want a very feature-rich collaboration platform with a slick user interface, check out Colaab. Once you sign up for an account, you begin by creating a workspace. As Pamela over on WebWorkerDaily notes, “the workspace includes an integrated IM feature, and discussions are displayed in the upper part of the right-hand panel, while the lower part shows which users are participating.” Colaab is available in a starter version for $24 a month, which includes 1GB of storage and 10 workspaces.

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  1. Hey Sebastian, thanks for including MemberHub on this list! Our pricing has changed a bit and we still have a free offering: http://memberhub.com/pricing. Thanks again for including us in the impressive list.

  2. Sebastian Rupley Monday, February 8, 2010

    @Matt, thanks, I corrected the price citation.

    Sebastian

  3. I will add http://www.binfire.com . It has Group collaboration tools like group folder with unlimited members, file version history (all versions of a given file are accessible), file locking, event notification, web chat and hotlinks for files and folders for sharing. In the future versions project management tools will be added. Binfire.com’s free version has 10GB online storage and one group folder with unlimited members! A paid version with more online storage and project management tools will be available in the future.

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  5. Hi Sebastian,
    Thanks a lot for including e-tipi in this great list!

  6. Bart Schrooten Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    Sebastian thanks for touching the topic of online collaboration which indeed is very hot at the moment. Two aspects of collaboration that are especially growing are social collaboration and mobility.

    From this point of view you could have a look at http://www.lumoflow.com. It offers free social workspaces that increase information transparency and team productivity.

    More than 1000 companies have signed up for the service since last year and we’re already hailed as one of the most promising internet startups in the Nordics.

  7. Great list, using a number of these myself. A little sad to see dropbox and mindmeister not make the list, but hey…it’s a top 10 right?

  8. Cool list. Lots of document-centric stuff – any recommendations on real-time communication-based collaboration tools?

    1. Benjamin, web-based tools, if designed the right way, can be maximized for real-time collaboration with team members around the world. Check out a free trial or online demo of eTouch SamePage: http://etouch.net/products/collaboration/trial.html

  9. I’d like to suggest adding WizeHive (http://www.wizehive.com) to the list for group collaboration. By creating private workspaces for projects and/or events, you can invite unlimited members to the conversation and share notes, documents, and calendars, as well as track the progress of task assignments. Then you can pull back and look across ALL of the workspaces at once for truly increased productivity. Recent activity is displayed in real time, and you can send notes and tasks into your workspace via email or Twitter.

    There are multiple plans available, including a free one. 30 day free trial of Plus plan demonstrates full capabilities for all signups.

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    [...] Unsung Collaboration Tools — Many of Them Free This is a cool list.  It is amazing how integrated everything is becoming.  Really makes things easy for the end [...]

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