Taking a Fresh Look at Glasscubes for Virtual Collaboration

UK-based Glasscubes, a virtual collaborative workspace provider, seems to be flying under the radar, but not for a lack of innovation or usability. I first mentioned the company in a post exploring how my own company was setting up communications systems for our entirely virtual team, while Thursday also wrote about the tool in Build a Workspace with Glasscubes.

The company recently announced some new features and a shift in overall direction. I had the chance to speak with Wayne Pope, founder of Glasscubes, to get some insight into what’s happening.

The feature changes included:

  1. Document approvals. Your team can now approve documents — or any file uploaded into Glasscubes — to ensure the correct version is used with everyone’s sign off. You can specify who on the team needs to be part of the approval process, and they are notified by email to review and approve the document or file.
  2. Quick links. Click the “Share This File” button once you’ve uploaded a file to a Glasscubes workspace, and you’ll get a link to the file that you can copy and paste into any message or email. You can also use this feature to share a specific file on Glasscubes with people outside your team including via a tweet or status update. Anyone who has the link can view the file without having to sign into Glasscubes or have an account, but they can’t access anything else in your workspace, and you have the benefit of being able to revoke access whenever you want.
  3. Unlimited users. Glasscubes now allows unlimited users across all its accounts, also provides caccess to all of its features across all the accounts. Now the only differentiator between the different package levels for Glasscubes accounts is the number of workspaces used and the amount of storage used.
  4. Three packages. The company has reduced its multiple paid offerings down to three, all with a 28-day free trial: Max at $199/month; Professional at $125/month and Standard at $49/month. Pope believes its Free package is also now much more useful, with two free workspaces and access for unlimited users, with up to one gigabyte of storage.

A Shift in Direction

According to Pope, Glasscubes is moving away from the idea of being an “online intranet,”  complete with files, workspaces, a CRM system, and even a “coffee break” area.

“We watched over time how people were using the accounts, and we found that the accounts the made the most of the product were based around the workspaces rather than other elements in Glasscubes,” explains Pope. “From a startup perspective, it’s hard to deliver a clear marketing message when doing ‘intranet.’ It’s easier for people to grasp collaboration and ‘to simplify.'”

To avoid spreading its own team too thin, the company decided to focus on being the best at one thing: online collaboration. It also wanted to continue offering a free version of the product, but not a stripped down, feature-poor version meant to encourage upgrades. Instead, it now includes all the functionality, only with fewer workspaces and less storage space.

Pope says that while the company is concentrating all of its efforts around the Workspace and upcoming communication and social features, it still supports the CRM/Connect feature, but is no longer actively developing it. He did suggest that the company may spin that feature off into a completely separate free product at some point, time permitting.

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