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Alternatives to Google Wave

Oct21

Written by:
2009/10/21 12:25 PM RssIcon

Google Wave, the new hype on the internet. But Google Wave is not new. In fact there are other pieces of software that have been around for a while before Google Wave hit the scene. Some have been around for years, even before Google.

Google assimilated all this technology, took on all the new ideas, group it all together, put a new skin on it, upgraded and improved it, and then made it open source.  Viola you have a fantastic product. Add to the fact that this has been done by an internet giant, who has also brought enterprise technology to the common man, thereby creating an internet craze.

But there are alternatives to Google Wave. Some are commercial and have been used for a while, while others are free. Some require some form of client software while others are completely online. The point is that Google Wave is not the only online collaboration, email, document sharing tool out there.

image Best Online Collaboration Tools 2009

Lest start of with what is out there. Here is a collaborative mindmap created in real time listing all the collaboration tools you can find on the web. From IRC Chat to Twitter. Everything that you can think of is included. File Sharing, desktop sharing, remote control, chat, video conferencing, project  management, collaborative writing and reviewing. Really everything is there. It all depends on what you need. Sure the only thing is that they are not integrated the way Google Wave is.

Sharepoint

Yes Microsoft did it as well. SharePoint or SharePoint Services offers the enterprise a wide variety of collaboration tools. Microsoft SharePoint, also known as Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies, is a collection of products and software elements that includes, among a growing selection of components, web browser based collaboration functions, process management modules, search modules and a document-management platform. SharePoint can be used to host web sites that access shared workspaces, information stores and documents, as well as host defined applications such as wikis and blogs. All users can manipulate proprietary controls called "web parts" or interact with pieces of content such as lists and document libraries.(Wikipedia)

Although propriety and commercial, SharePoint does and has offered collaboration for the enterprise for years.

image

SocialWok

Socialwok is a service to make organizations and companies more productive by helping them connect, share and collaborate within themselves and with the world. All interactions are centred on the rich media status feed where people exchange all types of information.

Socialwok is a mix of Twitter and Facebook for enterprise that is built specially for Google Apps. You can authorize in it only using your Google Apps account and inside you can easily collaborate on documents from Google Docs, events from Google Calendar, emails from Gmail, videos from YouTube and Google Maps. And it's built on Google App Engine.

Their tag line “Socialwok adds the missing social layer to Google Apps”

shareflow ShareFlow

Share flow might be considered to be a Google Wave wanabe. There are some striking similarities between the two. For example, Flows as apposed to waves. A great deal of ShareFlow’s functionality is equivalent or similar to Google Wave. Whether or not Shareflow is simply an imitator is really beside the point. What matters is that it's available here and now, and it works. Although it does not have all the features that Google Wave does, it might just suite your needs.

Shareflow handles threaded comments, files of most types can be uploaded and previewed through Scribd's iPaper interface, there's Google Maps integration, images, and video, email integration is also a big component of Shareflow.

Alfresco

Alfresco

Alfresco was the SharePoint alternative. Allowing people to experience similar functionality but not be locked in to a propriety and commercially expensive system. Many detested the fact that SharePoint locked you into Microsoft services, tools and apps.

Strictly speaking Alfresco is an enterprise content management system. It has features such as document management, image management, content management, record management. All with Collaboration features to boot. It is browser based as well as offering Office integration to Microsoft Office and Open Office.

offisync OffiSync

OffiSync is a plug-in for Microsoft Office 2003/2007 that integrates the office suite with Google Docs. You can open documents, spreadsheets and presentations already saved in Google Docs, edit them in Microsoft Office and save the files in Google Docs.

With one click, enable multiple people to view and make changes at the same time to your office document. While you can manage the collaborators in Microsoft Office, you can't collaborate in real-time and your changes will overwrite the changes made by your collaborators.

Not quite an alternative to Google Wave. It does give you some more options within Office allowing you to do a lot more. I have included it here because it does allow you to collaborate on a reduced scale.

Zoho Zoho

Zoho is a competitor to Google in the cloud computing realm. With an impressive array of applications and features it is surely one to look out for. Zoho is not new – it’s been around at least a few years now, competing solidly with Google Docs at least as far back as 2007.  Just like Google’s applications, Zoho is 100% in the cloud.

Will Zoho compete with Google Wave. I doubt it. It seems that Zoho has positioned itself more in the cloud computing space, with collaboration as a viable add on.

Zoho is free for personal use, but there is a charge for business and corporates.

scibblar Scribblar

Scribblar is a free online collaboration tool that features live audio, chat, whiteboard and image sharing capabilities, amongst other things. Scribblar lets you create a room where you can draw and conference with others on media or audio. It’s basically a social whiteboard.

synovel Synovel

Synovel CollabSuite is an Open Source technology based collaboration software. It includes e-mail, calendaring and instant messaging on multiple platforms. Although not a strict collaboration tool, it does offer IM. It probably occupies a small space in the cloud computing market.

Conclusion

While each of these software packages and apps offer some fascinating functionality, the thing about Google Wave is that it seeks to draw some of or most of this functionality together. But if you do not want a whole toolbox of goodies, then these apps are certainly worth the look.

It is very difficult to find that all in one application that will do it all online, in the cloud and have the ability to communicate and collaborate live.

But don’t despair, with a bit of Googling I am sure you will be able to find the app or group of apps that will satisfy your online cloud computing collaboration needs.

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5 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Alternatives to Google Wave

Wow, the list goes on...Didn't realise there were some many similar products.
Here's one more for your list 'Workshare Professional' a Document comparison and collaboration tool with multi-user support.

Great info - thanks for sharing

By Johnluffa on  2009/10/21 01:08 PM
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Re: Alternatives to Google Wave

Gawd, it will take me weeks to try out that lot!

By Kevin Tea on  2009/10/21 05:27 PM
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Re: Alternatives to Google Wave

Great post, Robert! I too did not know there were so many products out there like this. I have heard so much about Google Wave but didn't really get what it was. All these tools sound really useful! I love your list. Can wait to try some of them out.

By Bonnie the Joomla Developer on  2009/10/21 07:10 PM
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Re: Alternatives to Google Wave

I usually work with web-based applications like http://www.showdocument.com
I use it for sharing my designs and documents with partners and clients,
but i guess it can used for other purposes too. If you're looking for a free solution you should check it out.
- Laura W.

By laura wilson on  2009/10/25 04:35 PM
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Re: Alternatives to Google Wave

@laura,
Thanks for sharing this.
Had a look at this site, and guys it really looks interesting

By Robert Bravery on  2009/10/25 06:35 PM
 
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