While one can purchase any high-end technology for web-collaboration, using free applications have been fairly popular for a long time now. How about we explore the freebies a bit?
The first that comes to mind are the various ?chatting? or Instant Messaging applications. Besides being free, they are also probably the most popular ones. Most allow more than one participant in a conversation, though it undoubtedly works better if the number of participants is low. Owing to their popularity, most social networking sites also have their own IM applications.
Further developing traits, most IM applications included the option of audio-video conferencing. But not one evolved as much as the most popular ?Skype?. However, the greatest drawback of these tools is the fact that it best suits for lesser number of engaged users and collaboration between bigger groups is difficult.
This problem was solved with the advent of various applications for group discussions, which included features of sharing, tracking and editing. Some also include essential features like whiteboards, calendars and polls. These are successful in bringing the collaborating group closer to each others? views, irrespective of the number of members. Popular among these are Wiggio, PalBee and Phuser.
Group Tweets in Twitter are also a popular tool for collaboration within a group, where a direct message from any member becomes visible for all in the group ? and the root of discussion and learning germinate!
Latest to join the bandwagon is Google Wave which after initial hitches is catching on fast. Built on the metaphor of a ?wave?, a discussion is started and members are invited to join in with their contributions. Uploading files is simple with just a drag and drop. The selling point of the tool is that it is all about ?real time? collaboration, bringing one closer to an experience of an actual meeting or discussion around a table.
We could go on, but with new applications being developed even as we speak, it would be difficult to prepare an exhaustive list. For those who want to learn more, we could strongly recommend a fantastic list of 100 top web tools for collaboration by Ozge Karaoglu.
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