Zwiggo: Share everything with a group

One of the great things about the web is how easy sharing information and collaboration have become . There are now hundreds ways to show photos to friends, work on code with colleagues, make presentations to audiences across the globe, video chat with family abroad and team up to work on all kinds of projects, big and small. We’ve covered plenty of apps that help you curate and share content, including Zootool and Pinterest – but what if you wanted to share with a group – and do more than just look at pictures together?

Zwiggo has you covered. This app will have you and your group sharing pictures, links and files, talking in your own private chat room, taking group decisions in a flash, planning your schedule easily and getting things done all at once. It’s flexible enough to accommodate all types of groups and various activities. It also works in real-time and looks great. So how does Zwiggo work? Let’s put a project together and find out.

Overview

Zwiggo is a comprehensive sharing app built for groups. Each group can tailor the app to their requirements, enabling features they need and leaving off the ones they don’t, thus minimizing clutter to share thoughts, ideas and files quick and easy. The service is also currently free and anyone can sign up to check it out. All you need are some people to share your stuff with.

Getting started

Once you’ve filled out the short registration form on the homepage, you can begin using the app by creating a Space. This is where you can invite your group, share stuff with and interact with them. After you’ve named your space, you can start adding apps to it, depending on what you want to do with your group in that space. I decided to try Zwiggo by using it to plan a project with a couple of friends – turning a garage into a jam room/music studio.

The Update stream for a space on Zwiggo

The Update stream for a space on Zwiggo

The interface

Zwiggo’s clean, modern design features a great layout that’s easy to read and get around. The central panel first greets you with an overview of your spaces and allows you to create a new space. It’s also where you’ll interact with your group in your selected space. To the left is a group of sidebars that display your profile name, your contacts and buttons to view your notifications and search for contacts. Clicking on one of your contacts brings up their profile in the Selected Contact sidebar, which is kind of redundant and could be done away with.

Photos on Zwiggo

Photos on Zwiggo

Each space consists of apps that you choose from Zwiggo’s selection and add as per your needs. Each app is simple and carries out a single function well. For my garage jam room project, I added several apps to make communication easy:

  • Blogger – a simple blogging app to keep track of our week-on-week progress
  • Website share – a list of web links that any group member can add to, for sharing sites that have the gear we need for our jam room
  • Map – a nifty map app to locate stores that we could visit to get our gear
  • Date planner – a calendar to mark events like when we’ll be done cleaning out the garage, when the soundproofing project will begin, and so on
  • Decision – a simple polling app to help us decide on whether we should buy certain items (especially those outside our budget)
  • Todo – a checklist of the things we need to buy
  • Filebox – a place to upload and share all kinds of files – we’re using it to keep all our scanned bills and warranties in one place
  • Photos – a lightbox of pictures of all the stuff we need to buy and to also indicate color preferences
  • Chat – a no-frills chat room that supports offline messages.

You can then invite others who are either already on Zwiggo or invite via email (with options to import contacts from Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail and AOL). When your group members join, you’ll see them in your contact list and you can then begin to interact with them in your spaces.

A checklist on Zwiggo

A checklist on Zwiggo

Using Zwiggo

For a project like the one I’ve described, Zwiggo makes it really simple to share thoughts and content with friends. The various apps are fairly basic and stand-alone alternatives elsewhere on the web are certainly better, but Zwiggo helps bring everything under one roof and makes it easy to browse through it all. Keeping different parts of the conversation separate (photos, to-do list, files and so on) help in this regard, while other apps solve smaller problems: the Date Planner helps your group pick the best date for everyone for a particular event, while the Decision app helps you throw together a quick ‘n’ dirty poll for swift group opinions.

Zwiggo's Decision app

Zwiggo's Decision app

You can choose to use as many apps (and as many instances of each app) as you need. With the apps I chose, my buddies and I quickly got on the same page as to what tasks we each had to complete and by when, as well what gear to buy and from where . You could just as easily plan a vacation with your extended family, put together a block party with everyone in your neighborhood, make classroom resources available online to your students, or even just share a bunch photos with your friends. You can also list your space publicly so any Zwiggo user can find, view and join it depending on the permissions you set.

Conclusion

Overall, Zwiggo is a great tool for sharing content and ideas with groups. The apps are well thought-out and help make information easy to access and digest. The service is very easy to learn to use and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to do more than what they can with social networks like Facebook or Google (with their Circles feature). There are a couple of UI issues at present but nothing that can’t be easily fixed. Zwiggo is currently free to try, so why not get some friends together and start sharing something?


Summary

Zwiggo is a platform that makes sharing and collaborating in groups incredibly easy.

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