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Posts Tagged ‘time collaboration’

Google Cleans House Again, Killing Wave & More, Leaving Knol to WordPress

November 22nd, 2011 11:02 admin View Comments

google_logo_150x150.jpgGoogle just announced another mass termination of old services, including the final closing of Google Wave, the Google Gears browser extension, the Friend Connect service that predated Google+ badges, a bookmark-sharing service called Bookmarks Lists, and the Timeline search view that was quietly shut off earlier this month.

The announcement also describes the fate of Knol, a collaborative knowledge database like Wikipedia that never made it far off the ground. Google has been working with Solvitor and Crowd Favorite to relaunch the service as Annotum, which is powered by WordPress.

Google Slimming Down

Google is retiring old products en masse on a monthly basis now, shutting down Buzz, Labs, Code Search and more in October. It’s all part of the effort to refocus Google on its new social, real-time direction. Old social features such as Google Friend Connect had no chance, since Google+ takes priority now, and the real-time collaboration tools on Wave are being outmoded by Google+, too.

Knol Becomes Annotum, Moves to WordPress

Google has also given up on Knol, its effort to build a collaborative article database like Wikipedia. But the project isn’t dead; Google has helped transition the community and its articles over to a WordPress-based platform called Annotum. This revamp comes with open-source themes and free WordPress.com hosting. As Knol shuts down over the course of next year, Annotum will offer tools to help authors move their content over.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, his partner and wife, made a $500,000 donation to the Wikimedia Foundation last week.

Read more about the services Google is closing on the Google Blog.

Learn more about the transition from Knol to Annotum on the WordPress blog.

Source: Google Cleans House Again, Killing Wave & More, Leaving Knol to WordPress

Pusher Raises $1M From Heroku Founders And More To Bring Realtime Tech To Your Apps

June 9th, 2011 06:00 admin View Comments

On today’s ever-evolving Web, it seems there’s a growing demand for web apps that incorporate realtime functionality. Of course, it’s by no means easy to build seamless realtime functionality, as it often requires site developers to learn a whole new framework, or worry over the configuration of existing infrastructure.

To address this problem, Pusher has built a hosted service that helps developers create web apps featuring real-time collaboration in a jiffy, all through a cloud-based API. From a free sandox account, Pusher allows developers to bring the added benefits of realtime technology to existing apps, across various languages and platforms, to small sites for free. And so far, so good. Pusher opened its beta in March 2010 and has delivered approximately 9 billion messages to date. Over 4K developers have signed up to the service, including those from Groupon, Slideshare, Togetherville, and more.

Above, you can see a screenshot of Word2, a massively multiplayer word game in which tiles placed by users are reflected in realtime for other players viewing that area of the board, thanks to Pusher’s realtime technology. To check out some awesome examples of how various developers and websites are incorporating Pusher’s realtime functionality, click here.

When WebSockets were announced as part of the HTML5 specification in 2009, Pusher believed the new technology would be an important part of the evolution of Web browsers and servers. Judging by investor interest from the likes of Orion Henry, James Lindenbaum, and Adam Wiggins (otherwise known as the founders of Heroku, the cloud app deployment and scaling platform that sold to Salesforce.com in 2010) as well as a full set of other VCs and angels, it seems that the Pusher team is not alone.

Led by co-founders Max Williams and Damien Tanner, Pusher announced today that it has raised $1 million in seed funding, led by London-based early stage venture firm, Passion Capital. Other investors include the Heroku founders, San Francisco-based angel Bill Lee (who has invested in Remarq, Tesla, and more), New York-based MI Ventures, and Greg Marsh (founder of One Fine Stay and formerly of Index Ventures).

Pusher will use its new capital to expand the features of its realtime platform and drive adoption of realtime features on the web. As to potential future internal revenue models? The startup plans to offer paid-plans beginning in mid-June.

“Pusher is built for a generation of developers who will spend their time making awesome apps rather than configuring infrastructure”, said Adam Wiggins, Heroku co-founder and Pusher investor.

Source: Pusher Raises $1M From Heroku Founders And More To Bring Realtime Tech To Your Apps

Android Gets A (Sort Of) Native Google Docs App

April 27th, 2011 04:33 admin View Comments

If you’re a heavy user of Google Docs and are sporting an Android device, Google has some very good news: it’s just launched a new ‘Docs’ application that gives you quicker access to your cloud-based collection of documents. You can download the free app right here.

Fire up the app and you’ll see a slick-looking interface that lets you jump to your documents, images, starred items, and collections (you can also use filters to toggle between all items in your account and just those that are ‘owned’ by you). There’s also a very nifty feature: take a snapshot of a document, and Google Docs can immediately turn it into a text document using OCR (the original photo is presented in the document as well).

The one quirky thing that I noticed is that when you go to edit a document, it looks like the native application actually loads the web-based Google Docs mobile editor that was launched in November. This means that the app requires an internet connection — you can’t edit documents where there’s no service and sync your changes later. Then again, given that one of the most compelling features of Google Docs is real-time collaboration with coworkers (which gets messy with offline syncing), this isn’t all that surprising.

Source: Android Gets A (Sort Of) Native Google Docs App

yaM Labs Secures $500K To Take Meeting Management To The Cloud

March 2nd, 2011 03:56 admin View Comments

yaM Labs, a Russian startup not to be confused with Yammer, has secured $500k from Foresight Ventures. The company has developed Cloud-based software to make meetings – both face-to-face and virtual – more efficient by enabling participants to collaborate on the planning, running, and execution of a meeting.

The premise being that traditional offline tools make for a lot of wasted time because meetings lack focus and ‘memory’ – you have to be there to know what went down and even if you were, often the answer is not a lot or there at least exists no actual record. Shifting these tools to the Cloud – the yaM app runs completely in a web browser – and improving them along the way is supposed to help with this. The startup broke cover at our recent TechCrunch Moscow event.

yaM says it will use the new funding to accelerate product integrations with iPad and other tablets, Google App Marketplace, Yammer, Jive Networks. Additionally, money will be spent on marketing the app in the U.S.

To that end, the current yaM app offers a tabbed and notepad-like Interface – not far from being tablet ready, one suspects – to a suite of real-time collaboration tools to let meeting participants take part in trackable brainstorming sessions, SWOT and pro/con analyses, “action item prioritization”, and other meeting techniques and methods – all of which, if utilized, can make meetings more valuable, apparently.

As for the name, yaM actually stands for ‘yet another meeting’. Its founder is Anatoly Gaverdoskiy, a serial entrepreneur, including founding California-based InvisibleCRM, while the business model is a classic freemium play, The free version will be limited to a set number of meetings after which you pay a monthly subscription for unlimited meetings, storage and added security.

Source: yaM Labs Secures $500K To Take Meeting Management To The Cloud

Collaborate in Real-Time via iPhone or Desktop with Sazneo

February 23rd, 2011 02:00 admin View Comments

sazneo-logo.jpgSazneo, a real-time collaboration Web app, has launched an iPhone-friendly mobile version, allowing team members to stay in touch while on-the-go.

Sazneo is a relatively new group chat app that enables businesses to break conversations down into different channels, which can include team members as well as people from outside the organization. Within each chat channel, there’s a repository for file uploads so team members can easily exchange documents, graphics and other files.

It offers pretty granular controls over who can see and participate in a given chat stream. The app also supports private, one-on-one instant messages. Conversations that are no longer active can be closed and exported as an HTML file for safe archiving.

sazneo-desktop.jpg

The new iPhone version of Sanzeo is actually not a native iOS app but rather a mobile-optimized Web app that looks and feels very much like a native one. It even has a handy iPhone home screen icon, native app-style.

We tested the Web and mobile version side-by-side and the interactions are indeed real-time. Messages typed into either interface display pretty much instanteously to all participants.

On the iPhone, the experience is comparable to that of text-based group-chatting on the Skype app, except, of course, without push notifications (since it’s not a native iOS app).

Sazneo comes in two pricing packages: free for up to five channels and 100mb of file storage, or $8 per month for each user will get you 500mb of file storage and unlimited channels. Both plans offer mobile access and unlimited users.

To sign up, you’ll need to use a “work” email address, so Gmail or Yahoo won’t cut it.

Source: Collaborate in Real-Time via iPhone or Desktop with Sazneo

4chan Founder Unleashes Canvas On The World

January 31st, 2011 01:44 admin View Comments

Canvas launches today for 4,000 or so lucky souls.

Seven year old 4Chan, created by now-23 year old Christopher Poole, continues to delight and enrage the Internet. Major Internet meme’s were either created or spread on 4Chan, as were more denial of service attacks than we can count. Twelve million or so people a month visit the site, and at any given moment there are 60,000 – 70,000 people on 4chan.

4chan’s success, says Poole, is based on three things. Real time collaboration as visitors riff back and forth about posted items, often pictures. A true shared experience as an item pops up on 4chan and then eventually falls off the board (there are no archives). And fluid identity – to add content on 4Chan all you have to do is write something, upload a file and complete a captcha. There are no user accounts.

But 4chan isn’t Poole’s ultimate goal. He’s taken what works there, changed other things, and created something wholly new – Canvas.

We’ve known about the startup since early last year when news leaked out about a small funding round with top tier investors. but until now very few people have been able to actually see the site. The team of four – including Poole – have been hard at work and keeping quiet.

Today, though, a few thousand people who requested beta invitations over the last several months will get access to the site. More people will be added in batches over time, and everyone who originally requested an account will eventually be given an invite to bring in a friend.

So what’s Canvas? Like 4chan it’s a place for people to post content and start a discussion. It has distinct similarities to 4chan – although content is archived, and people create accounts. But users stay totally anonymous. Their profile page is nothing more than a gathering of the various content they’ve added to the site.

Canvas is starting just with images. Like Dailybooth users upload a picture and a discussion starts. Dailybooth, though is mostly about people uploading pictures of themselves. Lots and lots and lots of pictures of themselves. On Canvas, there’s a lot of photoshopping going on, and some of it is highly entertaining.

Take the most popular discussion right now, showing a picture of a very chubby baby. Lots and lots of photoshopped variations have been added.

More casual viewers can add their two cents by dragging and dropping visual icons – smiley faces, LOL, WTF, etc, to the content. This creates an easy way to gather a lot of metadata about an image, and help push it up or down on the popular list.

Poole says they’ll soon add other types of content as well – video, audio, rich text. “This is just the kernel of the long term vision, Canvas is all about collaboration” he says. “Canvas is all about discovery, sharing and play.”

Canvas is a separate entity from 4chan, with no connection other than Poole. But my guess is more than a few of the 4chan crowd may head over to Canvas to take a gander.

Source: 4chan Founder Unleashes Canvas On The World

Google Launches Plugin That Fuses Microsoft Office With Google Docs

November 22nd, 2010 11:00 admin View Comments

For years, we’ve been hearing that the future of productivity is in the cloud. But while visions of real-time collaboration leave technophiles like me starry-eyed, it’s a prospect that means one thing to millions of people: leaving the familiar turf of Microsoft Office 2003 or 2007 so that they can learn their way around yet another application, not to mention some pricey upgrades. But Google wants to let you have it both ways.

Today, Google is launching a new plugin for Microsoft Office called Cloud Connect, which will tie Google Docs directly into the ubiquitous productivity suite, free of charge. Editing a document in Word? It’ll automatically sync to your Google Docs account each time you hit ‘Save’. Want to share a preview of your document without worrying about what file format your coworkers can open? Just send them a link to the Google Docs file. The plugin supports Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, and it’s a big deal for Google’s strategy with Docs.

Now, Microsoft is integrating online collaboration with its newest version of Office, but Google is doing them one better: this will work on Office 2003, 2007, and 2010, and there’s no fiddling with SharePoint required, either. Google also points out that Microsoft’s version doesn’t offer Excel support yet.

The new plugin is a result of Google’s acquisition of DocVerse back in March (note that it only took Google around eight months to get this out the door — obviously a lot of people want it). Installing the plugin should be fairly painless; the download takes around thirty seconds, and the installation process doesn’t take much longer.

Once you’ve installed it, you’ll notice a new ribbon toward the top of the Office UI, which gives you a Google Docs link for the document you’re currently working on, as well as a notification to let you know when it’s been synced with Google’s servers. Documents being edited locally save to your Google Docs account whenever you hit the ‘Save’ button, but unlike the normal Google Docs web editor, changes aren’t saved as you type them. Google Docs product manager Jonathan Rochelle says this is done because of user expectations — Office has always required that you hit the Save button to save (safety recovery versions notwithstanding) so it makes sense to leave it this way.

Multiple people can edit the same document and have their changes synced with each save (hooray for the cloud). But because these changes aren’t reflected in real-time, there’s the potential for conflict creation — I could edit a PowerPoint slide to say one thing, and my coworker could put something else on the same slide. Google deals with these clonflicts by presenting users with an alert prompting them to choose which version they’d like to save; if they want to go back and switch again later, they can using the document’s version history.

In practice it looks like this should work well, though there will be a bit of a learning curve as people navigate through syncing and version conflict resolution the first few times. And then there’s actually getting them to use the features that Google Docs affords. Baby steps.

And that’s really the theme here: baby steps. Google says that it often speaks with businesses who are eager to switch to Google Docs, but who have a significant number of users who still want to stay with Office for whatever reason. This plugin will help clear that hurdle. And in the longer term, Google is hoping that as users get more familiar with Docs, they’ll be more comfortable abandoning the Office client altogether.

There is one significant caveat to the integration with Office, but it’s a bit complicated to describe so bear with me. If you save a document from Powerpoint to Google Docs, and then edit that file using the Google Docs web editor, you will not be able to sync those changes back with the native version of the file. You’ll be able to generate a new PowerPoint file that reflects the changes, but they won’t sync automatically. This is because Google is still working through fidelity issues, and the conversion from native document to Docs document may introduce some formatting changes that the user didn’t intend to make.

You may also recall a company called OffiSync, which we’ve been tracking over the last couple years. OffiSync has offered much of the same functionality that Google is launching for some time — but now that there’s an official solution, it seems like it could hamper their progress. Not so, says Rochelle, who explains that OffiSync actually has more features that Google’s product.

Source: Google Launches Plugin That Fuses Microsoft Office With Google Docs

Mockingbird’s Wireframe Tool Now Sings To The Tune Of Real-Time Collaboration

November 8th, 2010 11:30 admin View Comments

If you’re setting out to design a new website, there are few better starting places than a wireframing service: they let you quickly get a rough idea of what your site will look like, without having to deal with paper cut-outs or endless pencil erasing. And today, one of the better wireframing services is leaving beta with some major new features in tow for its official launch. Meet Mockingbird.

The bootstrapped, two-person startup launched around a year ago, offering a clean interface that’s based on the Cappuccino web framework (in other words, it isn’t in Flash, unlike many of its competitors). Since launching in a beta it’s grown to 55k users and nearly 100k projects created.

Today, Mockingbird is launching real-time collaboration, which means that multiple people can fire up their web browser (no install required) and start editing the same page layout. This is obviously a big deal given the collaborative nature of design, and in practice it looks pretty slick (you can see it in action in the video below, or you can check out the demo page to try it for yourself).

The other big change with this launch: Mockingbird is ready to turn on the revenue faucets, and will start charging for its more robust plans. There’s still going to be a free version available that supports 1 project with a maximum of two users, and premium plans start at $9 a month.

Competitors in this space include Balsamiq, which offers a desktop application rather than a web app, Mockflow, Hotgloo, and a nifty iPad app called iMockups.

Source: Mockingbird’s Wireframe Tool Now Sings To The Tune Of Real-Time Collaboration

Google Wave To Live On As ‘Wave In a Box’

September 3rd, 2010 09:47 admin View Comments

snydeq writes “Google Wave will morph into an application bundle for real-time collaboration, according to a blog post by Google Wave engineer Alex North. ‘We will expand upon the 200K lines of code we’ve already open sourced (detailed at waveprotocol.org) to flesh out the existing example Wave server and Web client into a more complete application or “Wave in a Box,”‘ North said, adding that the future of the recently flat-lined Google service will be ‘defined by your contributions. We hope this project will help the Wave developer community continue to grow and evolve,’ he said.”

Source: Google Wave To Live On As ‘Wave In a Box’

yaM Labs Secures $500K To Take Meeting Management To The Cloud

November 29th, 2001 11:00 admin View Comments

yaM Labs, a Russian startup not to be confused with Yammer, has secured $500k from Foresight Ventures. The company has developed Cloud-based software to make meetings – both face-to-face and virtual – more efficient by enabling participants to collaborate on the planning, running, and execution of a meeting.

The premise being that traditional offline tools make for a lot of wasted time because meetings lack focus and ‘memory’ – you have to be there to know what went down and even if you were, often the answer is not a lot or there at least exists no actual record. Shifting these tools to the Cloud – the yaM app runs completely in a web browser – and improving them along the way is supposed to help with this. The startup broke cover at our recent TechCrunch Moscow event.

yaM says it will use the new funding to accelerate product integrations with iPad and other tablets, Google App Marketplace, Yammer, Jive Networks. Additionally, money will be spent on marketing the app in the U.S.

To that end, the current yaM app offers a tabbed and notepad-like Interface – not far from being tablet ready, one suspects – to a suite of real-time collaboration tools to let meeting participants take part in trackable brainstorming sessions, SWOT and pro/con analyses, “action item prioritization”, and other meeting techniques and methods – all of which, if utilized, can make meetings more valuable, apparently.

As for the name, yaM actually stands for ‘yet another meeting’. Its founder is Anatoly Gaverdoskiy, a serial entrepreneur, including founding California-based InvisibleCRM, while the business model is a classic freemium play, The free version will be limited to a set number of meetings after which you pay a monthly subscription for unlimited meetings, storage and added security.

Source: yaM Labs Secures $500K To Take Meeting Management To The Cloud

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