15 Great Collaboration Apps for Easier Communication

Now that remote teams are common practice in getting ahold of the best talent available across the globe, collaboration apps are finding increased traction. Real-time collaboration is a main stay with most of the apps and with a combination of communication tools, it’s now possible to make the entire team feel like they’re working under the same roof.

We’ve compiled a list for those looking for web apps that help remote teams interact and collaborate on projects and documents. Read on to find the right one that fits your needs.

Google Docs

Google Docs

Google Docs

Google Docs deserves a pat on their back for taking collaboration to the masses. It’s a suite of web-based calenders, documents, spreadsheets, drawings and presentations that let users edit the same file at the same time so you always have the latest version.

  • Freemium Plans – Available
  • Free Storage Space – Gmail or Google Apps free space + Paid Upgrades
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes

Onehub

Onehub

Onehub

Onehub is a web app that provides everything you need to easily and securely share files and collaborate online. Share large files and videos, collaborate with shared calendars, task lists and team discussions.

  • Freemium Plans – Available
  • Free Storage Space – 1 GB
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes

Socialcast

Socialcast

Socialcast

Socialcast is a powerful Enterprise Activity Stream Engine. It’s a collaborative microblogging platform that unites your company’s people, data, and applications in real-time.

  • Freemium Plans – Available
  • Free Storage Space – Not Mentioned
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – No

Central Desktop

CentralDesktop

CentralDesktop

Despite its name, Central Desktop isn’t a full fledged operating system in the cloud. Central Desktop’s cloud-based social collaboration platform revolutionizes how people connect and share information to drive profitable business results. Manage your projects, teams and documents with one powerful secure app that works both inside and outside the firewall.

  • Freemium Plans – Available
  • Free Storage Space – 1 GB
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – No

WizeHive

WizeHive

WizeHive

WizeHive is a collaboration platform which allows groups to share conversations, notes, tasks, calendars, files, and other information in secure, private, workspaces. Information can be entered from within WizeHive or via email, Twitter, and mobile devices.

  • Freemium Plans – Available
  • Free Storage Space – 3 GB
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Not Specified

Feng Office

Feng Office

Feng Office

Feng Office allows businesses to manage project tasks, billing, documents, communication with co-workers, customers and vendors, schedule meetings and events, and share every kind of electronic information. Business managers and directors can get a clear picture on the status of projects and customer services, by accessing the integrated view for making informed business decisions.

  • Freemium Plans – Free self-hosted community version available.
  • Free Storage Space – Unlimited
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes

Project Pier

Project Pier

Project Pier

ProjectPier is a free, open source web application for managing tasks, projects and teams through an intuitive web interface. It can be downloaded for free and installed on your own web server. ProjectPier will help your organization communicate, collaborate and get things done. Its performs similar to commercial groupware/project management products, but allows the freedom and scalability of self-hosting.

  • Freemium Plans – Free self-hosted community version available.
  • Free Storage Space – Unlimited
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes

Liferay Social Office

Liferay Social Office

Liferay Social Office

Liferay Social Office is a social collaboration solution for the enterprise. Consider this a competitor to Microsoft SharePoint. This full virtual workspace streamlines communication, saves time, builds group cohesion and raises productivity. All you have to do is log in and work the way you want to, at your convenience.

  • Freemium Plans – Free self-hosted community version available.
  • Free Storage Space – Unlimited
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes

crocodoc

crocodoc

crocodoc

crocodoc takes your PDFs, Word documents, and PowerPoint presentations, and lets you view and mark them up online. Documents can be shared with others, who can collaboratively highlight or strikeout text, add notes and comments, and make revisions. All files can be password protected and encrypted for maximum security.

  • Freemium Plans – Available
  • Free Storage Space – 20 MB per file
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Not Mentioned

ShowDocument

ShowDocument

ShowDocument

ShowDocument is a document sharing and web meetings app that works in a single click. Brainstorm with co-workers, document client requirements with online collaborative whiteboards. A wide range of tools let you annotate, mark-up, and add comments. Annotations can be printed or saved.

  • Freemium Plans – Available
  • Free Storage Space – 10 MB per file
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes, in the paid plan.

tgethr

tgethr

tgethr

tgethr is a simple, secure and easy to use, free email collaboration platform ideal for personal and enterprise use. Collaborate on customer support, deals, or leads. Track conversations and Customer Relationship Management via CC/BCCing your group.

  • Freemium Plans – Available
  • Free Storage Space – Not Mentioned
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes

Creately

Creately

Creately

Creately is a visual document manager with a centralized repository and built in collaboration to securely share, review, update and track diagrams and mind maps. Their intelligent diagramming engine suggests connectors, does automatic groupings and defines data properties to take drawing to the next level. Powerful project collaboration, inline commenting, and one click publishing helps you get your team and clients on the same page.

  • Freemium Plans – Available
  • Free Storage Space – Not Mentioned
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes, in the paid plan.

iEtherPad

iEtherPad

iEtherPad

iEtherPad is the hosted version of the famous EtherPad app that has now been open sourced. The app works just like its parent and boasts being the only one app online that allows people to collaborate in “really real-time”. Etherpad updates every copy of the document every half second and permits unlimited revisions.

  • Freemium Plans – Available
  • Free Storage Space – Not Relevant
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes

activeCollab

activeCollab

activeCollab

activeCollab is the project management and collaboration tool that installs on your web server or local network. This web app gives you full control over your files and communications, with unlimited users, projects, and storage space

  • Freemium Plans – No
  • Free Storage Space – Unlimited
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes

Cozimo

Cozimo

Cozimo

Cozimo is an easy, cost effective way for creative teams to get feedback and collaborate on images, documents and videos. Thanks to Cozimo’s Synchronized Video Collaboration, you’ll be in perfect sync with all the editors, all the time.

  • Freemium Plans – No
  • Free Storage Space – Unlimited
  • Realtime Collaboration – Yes
  • Unlimited Users – Yes

Share Your Thoughts!

Do you use any of the apps mentioned in the list? If you have got an awesome app to add to the list, sound off in the comments section. Thanks!


  • Tim

    This is a weird sentence: “The app works just like its parent a boats to be the only one app online that allows people to collaborate online in really real-time.”

  • Rsm

    Zoho is a pretty full featured collaboration app.

  • http://www.creately.com Rohitha

    Thanks for this Justin. The latest on Creately is that they are launching their Desktop version which offers both online and offline functionality, which is known as Diagrams Anywhere – http://creately.com/desktop

  • http://teambox.com David Niubó

    http://teambox.com is another great collaboration app, more social and twitter-like, free 3 projects SaaS and open source

  • http://about.me/foralien Anna

    Thanks a lot for this roundup, Justin, – quite valuable.
    But I’d like to mention my personal favourite box.net – http://www.box.net/
    I’ve used service for several years and it provide exellent opportunities especially if you need something just simple and beautifull. There are plenty of their own and 3rd party extensions to the basic functionaly that allow to achive almost everything you can think of in terms of collaboration.
    And not least to mention that their freemiun plan offers a 5GB storage space – that’s very competitive offer.

  • http://jaconda.im/ Anton

    While these tools look great for collaboration, I should add that any remote team needs a communication hub and we’re developing a service for this: http://jaconda.im/ – Team Chat integrated with project management services and Google Talk.

  • http://swflmarketinglabs.com Adam Teece

    I use Mindmeister and Rule.fm as well and that makes up my main business workflow whether I am working on a project by myself or with others.

  • Stewart Lynch

    You are missing Open Text Social Worlkplace, a great social Media solution. Used at the last two G20 summits. http://www.open text.com/otsw

  • http://www.DovetailCollaboration.comments Kris Schaeffer

    Thanks for keeping us up to date on new tools. I had not heard of activecollab before.

  • Bill

    Great list. I’d like to recommend another – the BCN from DRE Software – http://www.dresoftware.com. It’s a great tool for collaboration and online meetings. Great price too.

  • http://gotiggr.com Max Katz

    Another app is Tiggr (http://gotiggr.com). With Tiggr you create, share and preview interactive and clickable UI prototypes for web and mobile.

  • Kanna

    My pick would be Zoho Writer. I find some great apps in Zoho. Really interesting!!! Almost like Google

  • http://www.apollohq.com Tony Mobily

    Hi,

    (Biased but heartfelt opinion!)

    Maybe include Apollo in your great list! http://www.apollohq.com
    It does both project management and CRM and it implements cases&deals, timers, calendars, and more. Plus, it’s a very zippy AJAX application…

    Bye!

    Merc.

    • Adeline

      nice.

  • Olga

    I think Teamlab is also worth mentioning http://www.teamlab.com/
    provides plenty of opportunities for collaboration: forums, blogs, IM, files sharing and soon- co-editing.

  • Himali

    Hey Good list. Another one I would like to add a project management tool to this list. The tool is DeskAway. Its a simple yet a powerful which simplifies work. It has recently revamped Dashboard, Timesheets & added a timer feature. It really makes my tasks easy… Do give it a try. http://www.deskaway.com

  • Andrya

    Have you used RHUB? http://www.rhubcom.com This is a self-hosted appliance for web conferencing and remote support.

  • Connor

    Another fantastic collaboration app is the one I use called Dooster. Worth a look if you are thinking of swapping or looking for a new collaboration tool. http://www.dooster.net

  • Krista

    I use a handful of these as our company seriously relies on Google Apps. We tried out all the diagramming apps in the Google Apps Marketplace. In terms of collaboration, LucidChart rocked the others. It’s the only one with real-time collaboration.

  • CollabLove

    Hi! I would like to add Binfire in the list. Well for me, Binfire is the best collaboration application in the web, it has cool useful and helpful features for my team’s project management. http://www.binfire.com/ is very user-friendly and I love it!

  • http://calendarcruncher.com Catherine

    Our company uses Google Apps for just about everything too. We were using an open source CRM tool for a while but we started using http://calendarcruncher.com just based on the simplicity and ease of use. It doesn’t have a ton of features but it’s pretty good at small team collaboration!

  • Jack

    We’ve been using Dooster which is another good app and i’m pleased to see that others are using it too. It’s been working well for us. Communication has tightened up a lot and we’re getting more business done in every way. Also, office relations are consequently better as there have been less mess ups. I’d like to hear what other people think about it. Love the list though and learning about new apps.

  • http://www.teamlab.com Oliver Heinrich

    I was testing all the collaboration tools from above …
    and finally I found teamlab, which is a great collaboration SaaS, that includes everything I need for starting a small business!

  • Eric G

    You’re missing a huge one!

    http://trello.com all the way! :)

    I’ve personally test driven OVER 100 project management/collab online apps for my team. For the first time I am not looking anymore thanks to Trello!

    I love it because I can see the the details AND the big picture (ie what should be my team’s priority now) at the same time, from one window! Everyone can see the team’s priorities, and who’s responsible for what.. and it’s EXTREMELY customizable.. I feel like we can make it what we want it.

    Oh, and it’s FREE! They have plans for some paid team features, but mostly permissions type stuff (which they already have plenty of in the free version). And the dev team is SUPER active.. the app gets better and better with each passing month..

    Again, I’ve tried everything worth trying out there.. most of the ones on your list, and a bunch of others like Basecamp, ActiveColab, ProjectBubble, Asana, Wunderkit, Copper, Skylight.. (yeah, I’ve been kinda obsessed). Here’s proof: http://www.mindmeister.com/77734403/project-management

    If you haven’t, give Trello a shot!

    Hope it helps..

    Eric

  • Steve M

    Having tried over 30 myself, Feng Office was the best option for me. By far.

    Eric, your mindmap is awesome, but it is missing Feng Office. I highly recommend you give it a try.

    Trello is great too, but it is focused on having less features for PM, and not the full collaboration suite.

    Also, you have to consider that only a few provide the choice to use on the cloud and on premise.

    • Cley Morel

      I found Feng Office great too. I really like trello and i don’t understand why you said it’s not full collaboration

  • Cley Morel

    What about Basecamp and join.me or producteev ? i think you should list them too they are very helpful. I’ve just made a review of them here http://www.cloudswave.com/blog/the-best-collaboration-and-brainstorming-tools-to-run-your-business-smartly/

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