#19 Collaborating with Web-based Apps


The availability and use of online productivity applications (i.e. word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded over the past few years and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need of installed desktop applications. One large benefit to web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC or Windows to Mac! You can create a document at home, but work on it anywhere that has an Internet connection. Another bonus is that they easily accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and PDF).

This Common Craft video about Google Docs gives a good explanation of some of the benefits of using online tools like these instead of emailing multiple copies of a document around to people.

For this discovery exercise, try out any of the web-based document creation tools. Create a simple document, spreadsheet or presentation and see how it compares to whatever you currently use for those types of things.

One of my favorite parts of Google Docs is the forms which can be used for all kinds of things including registration forms or any other type of data collection you might want to do.

If you do any presentations at all (and who doesn’t?) you should check out Nancy Duarte’s “State of Presentations: New Tools for New Communication Needs

If you just want a place to share your presentations online check out SlideShare or SpeakerDeck


If you don’t want to create an account feel free to jump into this Google Doc I’ve shared with you and play around a bit.  Open it up and leave a comment in there!

You can also try out a presentation or spreadsheet if you want to kick the tires on those.

Online Meetings

Today, more than ever, we are working and collaborating with people in other locations. Fortunately, we have some pretty amazing tools to help make the process much easier than it used to be.

Skype | skype.com

Skype is an application, designed specifically for video and voice communication, that allows you to communicate via the internet to other Skype users, anywhere in the world, for free. In addition to free PC to PC video calling users can choose to pay for additional features. However we’re only going to look at the free features of the program, so here’s a list of free features and what they do:

  • Skype to Skype Calls– Call another Skype user’s computer, works like a telephone.
  • One-on-One Video Calling– Make a video call using your computer’s webcam.
  • Instant Messaging– Like with AIM, Yahoo IM, and MSN messaging.
  • Screen Sharing– Show another Skype user your desktop, images, or a game without actually sending them a file.
  • Conference Calling (Non-Video, between Skype users only)– hold a group phone call with two or more Skype users at one time.
  • Call Transfer (Skype only)– Send a call to another Skype user.
  • Sending Files– Send an image or document to another Skype user.

Google Hangouts

Connect with up to nine people at once from your computer or the Google+ mobile app (Android, iPhone). Use video chat for free with up to nine friends at the same time to connect with family,  share the latest news, get work done, or even watch YouTube clips together.

Hangouts include built-in productivity apps (like Google Drive) that improve team collaboration, even when you’re not together. Your team can make last-minute changes to that important presentation, get live input on your analysis from remote team members, or just plan the company holiday party over coffee.

Join.me | join.me

join.me combines instant screen sharing and meeting tools in an app that anyone can use to present, train, demo or concept. join.me is designed to be intuitive and accessible, providing features that you’ll use every day for everything from show-and-tell to formal presentations.

This is the one I use when I’m helping my Dad on his computer in another town.  Trust me, if he can use it –anyone can! (Love you Dad!)

Vyew | vyew.com

Vyew allows you to meet and share content in real-time or anytime. Upload images, files, documents and videos into a room. Users can access and contribute at anytime. Unlimited use with up to 10 people.

Leave a comment about your experience with these types of web apps. 

  • Do you already use these apps? If so, how?
  • Are any of these new to you?
  • How could online applications such as these help you in your day-to-day work?
  • How could your organization incorporate and ultimately benefit from these tools?



3 thoughts on “#19 Collaborating with Web-based Apps

  1. Okay, I’ve begun a grand experiment that involves you, well, at least three of you. Will post results as soon as it’s done. You can visit my blog to read about it. Look for the empty stage.


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