Crocodoc: Quick Document Collaboration

Collaborating on PDFs (s adbe) or PowerPoint (s msft)  presentations can make a person crazy, especially if you’re coordinating the efforts of multiple editors. Even if everyone involved has the necessary software, trying to manage everyone’s different comments can be a recipe for disaster. Crocodoc simplifies the situation, allowing you to upload and collaborate on Word documents, PDFs and presentations.
Crocodoc offers two plans: Free and Pro. To an extent, the Free version feels like a souped-up demo. You can upload and share documents, as well as mark up your files and share comments, for free. However, features like protecting a document with a password and managing document histories are only available on Pro accounts. The price tag isn’t too bad, though — a Pro plan is $8 per month, or $36 per year.
Technically, you don’t even need to create an account to use Crocodoc, providing you’re only interested in using the Free version. You can upload a document immediately from the home page and use all the mark up and sharing tools without going through any sort of registration process. The only time you’re prompted to open an account is if you want to password-protect your document. If you’re looking for a fast solution to get feedback on a document, Crocodoc is particularly useful. You will need to ensure you bookmark any documents you create on a free plan, however, because you won’t be able to find them again without the unique URL assigned to each document when you upload it.
When you’re reading a document through Crocodoc, you can highlight or strike out text. You can also add sticky notes that are linked to specific phrases or sections, as well as mark up a document with red text to the point that you bring back memories of school and your teacher’s red pen. The controls are easy to use, reminding me somewhat of Adobe Acrobat’s (s adbe) mark up tools. As far as sharing documents go, it’s a matter of passing along the file’s URL to your readers. Once they click on that link, they can comment on the document. They can also download a copy of the original. Unfortunately, if you’re using a Free account, anyone with the link can access the document. If you are working with even slightly sensitive material, you’d best upgrade to a Pro account.
Pro accounts offer enhanced security with SSL encryption. Accessing a document on Crocodoc seems to be dependent on the password, meaning that anyone you share a document with does not need to create an individual account. Crocodoc also offers the option of creating an intranet deployment behind your firewall if you’re sharing documents with your colleagues and want the best possible security.
What tools do you use for document collaboration?
Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Report: The Real-Time Enterprise