Dropbox beta tests Paper, a collaborative writing tool

Dropbox has revealed a new collaborative writing tool. It’s called Paper — not to be confused with Facebook’s news reader app, FiftyThree’s drawing app, and likely a dozen other less prominent software products — and right now Dropbox is inviting select consumers to beta test it.
Paper is the next iteration of the Notes service Dropbox previewed earlier this year. It works a lot like a trumped-up version of Google Docs: People can use the service to write together, communicate, and assign each other individual tasks.
Here’s what Engadget, which got a preview of the service, had to say about it:

When asked what differentiated it from the rest of the field, [Dropbox product manager Matteus] Pan pointed to Paper’s focus on building documents that let users work and share multiple content types regardless of what’s used to create them.
He cited Paper as a way to collaborate that keeps things from getting overly ‘messy’ in terms of both clean design and organization. The last differentiator is organization and helping teams find their work quicker. ‘Creation and collaboration are only half the problem,’ he said. ‘The other half is how information is organized and retrieved across an entire company.’

Dropbox picked a funny day to reveal Paper to the public. Another company, Quip, announced just this morning that it has raised $30 million from a number of investors to keep working on its own collaborative office tool. Given the inevitable competition between these services, it wouldn’t be hard to believe Dropbox revealed Paper to try and steal some attention away from its new rival.
Not that Quip is the only service Paper will have to compete against. There’s also Google Docs, Microsoft Office, and who-knows-how-many other tools out there. The service will have to fight an uphill battle to become something more than another interesting service Dropbox introduced only to let it become stagnant. (Say hello to Carousel and Mailbox!) To state the obvious: Odds are against it.
Dropbox users can ask to be added to Paper’s waitlist through the service’s site. The company hasn’t said how many people it plans to allow on the beta service, nor when the service will exit beta and become available to the general public.

Microsoft and Facebook Unveil Docs, but Why?

However, I’m left puzzled by this specific integration — sharing and collaborating on Office documents is just not something that I envisage myself doing on Facebook, and I really can’t see my Facebook friends doing it, either.

Zoho Launches Full Google Docs Integration

Arguably, Zoho is a competitor of Google’s (s goog), since both include web-based document creation and editing tools among their product offerings. That hasn’t stopped Zoho from offering integration with Google products in the past, and today it introduces full Google Docs compatibility, a move which shows it puts customer needs ahead of all other concerns, if you ask me.

Zoho CRM, Zoho Mail and Zoho Docs all get new abilities to interact with and use documents from Google Docs, which should be welcome news for anyone wanting to try out the Zoho alternative without either starting from scratch or going through an arduous migration process with their existing library of docs. Read More about Zoho Launches Full Google Docs Integration

Google Docs and Google Groups Come Together: It’s a Good Thing

groups_logoGoogle (s goog) is trying to get ahead of the game before Microsoft (s msft) gives it a real run for its money with Office Online, coming in 2010. One way it’s doing that is by enhancing the collaborative abilities of Docs, and further integrating all of its services. Which is why Google Groups recently got an upgrade that allows for sharing of documents, calendars and sites.
What this really means is that I finally have a decent reason to use Google Groups. In the past, I think I’ve belonged to a maybe one Group, and it didn’t work out all that well. The members generally forgot it existed, and it acted more or less as a glorified mailing list. Now, though, since I already use Docs and Calendar and often want to share content from both with multiple people, Groups has matured to become a full-featured business tool. Read More about Google Docs and Google Groups Come Together: It’s a Good Thing

Manymoon: Project Management with Google Apps Integration

manymoonThere’s no shortage of options for those looking to manage projects using web-based applications these days. Manymoon is another recent entry in this expanding category, and they are a serious contender that doesn’t lack for professionalism and features. Question is, is there something you can get at Manymoon that you aren’t already getting with your current project management solution?
Manymoon is well-designed, with a clean interface throughout. Of course, that’s true of a lot of project management web apps, and especially the free ones targeted at the independent, rather than the enterprise, user. Commands and tools are housed in submenus and tabs to keep visual clutter on any given page to a minimum. And I do find that everything is located where I intuitively expect it to be, which is not necessarily always the case in other apps.
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Share Google Docs with a quick drag and drop in Gmail

MailgadgetdragdropFolks living in the browser will appreciate this quick-and-easy tidbit of a feature shown over at Digital Inspirations. You can now share a Google Doc simply with a drag-and-drop right in Gmail. First, you’ll need the Google Doc gadget that we mentioned back in October so that your Docs will appear in your Gmail sidebar.

Once you have it there, simply drag the document link into an e-mail and you’ve got an active hyperlink that will share the doc with your e-mail recipient. It’s a small touch, but definitely handy for sharing docs. Note that you could already search for docs in the gadget prior to this update. Also, this saves on bandwidth since it simply puts a link to the shared document, it doesn’t attach the full doc to your e-mail.

Introducing GigaOM Daily

This past weekend at Word Camp 2008, we announced GigaOM Daily, a Twitter-style micro-newswire that is going to take editorial inputs from our team and our growing network of blogs. Some might call it the Twitterization of news. If you want to be super-simplistic, then you also can think of it as a constantly updating LiveBlog.

Inspired by the thinking behind Dave Winer’s concept of “river of news,” it is a reflection of the changing nature of news in our time-constrained life. Many of our readers and sources have lamented that they have to read the full story when the real information can be wrapped up in two lines. At the same time, I was finding that my growing network on Twitter was feeding me more interesting stories to read than I could find myself.

So why not combine the two and come up with a live microblog-based newswire? Bloomberg, Reuters and Dow Jones have been using headline and news alerts forever. Except now we can do this on the Internet, using an open source platform (WordPress) and some clever hackery. (More details, along with notes about current and future features, below the fold.)

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Debunking 5 Business Myths about Second Life

NBA IslandRecently Forbes featured a widely-cited article (reg. req.) on marketing in Second Life that was so spectacularly incorrect, it inspired me to whip up this reference guide, as the errors there keep cropping up elsewhere. As someone who worked for Linden Lab, consults on and is writing a book about Second Life, I have an obvious personal and professional interest in the topic. But what follows isn’t metaverse boosterism; it may very well be that Second Life is over-hyped or ill-conceived for business purposes. Even if so, however, it’s not due to the five provably bogus claims. [digg=http://digg.com/gaming_news/Top_Five_Second_Life_Myths_Exploded]
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