Zoho Show: Another Step Towards Better Group Collaboration

I don’t normally write about incremental product updates, even if they come from one of my Clients – like in this case Zoho.  But today’s Zoho Show update touches a pet peeve of mine, group collaboration, specifically the lack of portable group definitions available for many online services.

For example the Enterprise Irregulars group has intense discussion threads using Google Groups, which I often praised for stepping out of being just a group email mechanism, becoming a mini community/collaborative platform.  But it’s a closed system, the definition of a “group”, i.e. it’s members does not exist outside the Groups application, we can’t just simply share a Google Doc,  Spreadsheet, or Calendar with the predefined EI group. Note: I am not complaining about Google specifically ,  most services are like this, basically allowing three levels of collaboration/sharing:

  • none (private)
  • shared with a list of users
  • public

Zoho started to address better Group management about half a year ago, in February, enabling Writer, Sheet and Mail to recognize a Group created in their My Account area.  Today Zoho Show joins the list: you can share your presentations with contacts pulled from Zoho Mail, save them to groups, or use groups defined elsewhere (Mail, Accounts) in Zoho.  Eventually there will be multiple privacy / sharing levels within the Zoho Universe:

  • private
  • shared with individual email id’s
  • shared with Groups (defined once, recognized in all applications)
  • shared by Domain (i.e. share info within your business)

Other than group collaboration, today’s update brings export capability to PowerPoint and other formats, expanded language support, easy embedding of Picasa images (Flickr support has been available for a while) and more.  For a full list of the enhancements see the Zoho Blog.

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  1. Zoli

    We mulled over these same issues at ProofHQ (ProofHQ is a collaborative review and approval app for documents, design and artwork). How do we let people distribute proofs to their reviewers without having to recreate groups from other apps all over again?

    We have developed the following layers:
    1. Private, not distributed. Only available to people in the creator’s organisation with appropriate security rights.
    2. Distribution based on email ID. Only named recipients can access the files. we will be adding a Groups feature to this shortly.
    3. Controlled distribution by embedding the proof in private wikis, web pages, intranets, etc.
    4. Public distribution in public web pages, blogs, etc.

    We are seeing a lot of take up with the third option, which lets people embed their proofs into existing “private” web pages. By default the proof is only available to people with permission to see those web pages. This brings ProofHQ into their existing process rather than forcing the creation of yet another set of permissions.

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