Collaboration

col·lab·o·rate
intr.v. col·lab·o·rat·edcol·lab·o·rat·ingcol·lab·o·rates
1. To work together, especially in a joint intellectual effort.
2. To cooperate treasonably, as with an enemy occupation force in one’s country.
3. Google Applications 


I added #3, but it’s true. Google Applications means collaboration. And the best part is it’s free. There is the full suite of Google Applications where they link your domain to their apps and you can have multiple users sharing documents, calendars, etc. Then there is just the indivual tools: Google Documents and Google Calendar. These are what my wife and I use and love.

It started with Google Docs. I wanted to way to setup a collaborative packing list for our LBI vacation where we could both update it at any time from anywhere – home or work. Google Docs was the perfect way to do this. Since then, I’ve expanded it to include all sorts of files from Resume building notes to our son’s Soccer Team roster. It really is a great way to share documents, spreadsheets, or presentations. Technically you don’t have to share them with anyone to find Google Docs useful. I just like having the files available to me online at any time from any computer.

From Google Docs, we moved onto Google Calendar. Here is where Google has really helped us. We needed a better way to keep a family calendar where everyone could see all events, games, practices, etc. Google Calendar was perfect for this. It allows us to create multiple calendars and by color coding each calendar, we can easily see everything and who it belongs to. This has made our life so much easier when it comes to knowing what we have scheduled on any given day.

From a small business perspective, Google Docs and Google Calendar is a simple and inexpensive way to share your calendar or documents with your partners, clients, or vendors. Google Documents offers offline support using their Google Gears technology. This works particularly well in Google Chrome and Firefox. For your calendar, a company called GooSync offers software to synchronize Google Calendar(s) with Outlook and/or pretty much any mobile device. I’ve been experiment with GooSync on my Treo, but until I decide how to handle my calendar and eMail sync’ing long-term I haven’t fully enabled this.

Finally, SalesForce.com has a partnership with Google Applications. I personally haven’t use this, but from what I’ve read it looks very interesting. http://wiki.apexdevnet.com/index.php/Force.com_AppExchange_for_Google_Apps