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Remember the first time you ever saw the real-time collaboration feature for Google Docs (now Google Drive)? It seems obvious now, but in 2005 seeing changes happen live felt nothing short of magical. Never again would you have to email documents to various co-workers, only to manually add everyone’s changes to a single document.

Ten years later and Google Drive continues to improve A Shine In The Clouds: The New Google Drive Gets A Redesigned Look A Shine In The Clouds: The New Google Drive Gets A Redesigned Look With generous free space, it is a personal cloud for many. What it needed was a fresh makeover. The "new look" Google Drive brings that. Take the new Google Drive for a spin. Read More , Microsoft offers real-time collaboration Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Don't Pay For Word! 5 Reasons You Should Use Office Online Office Online is the free and cloud-connected version of Microsoft Office. Limitations are compensated by features, useful even to users of desktop Office. Best of all is its Read More in their online version of Office, and Dropbox is reportedly working on a real-time collaboration app of their own.

Even with all this, though, many people are stuck using the email-and-collect-revisions method of collaboration. Today Cool Websites and Apps looks at five tools that fix that for you.

Frame.io: Preview, Comment and Post Revisions of Media Files

This app looks to make collaborating on anything – from photos to videos to sound – a lot easier. There are annotation tools, comments and the ability to upload various revisions of the same file all in one place.

Google Drive collaboration on video projects is a long way off – bandwidth needs to get a lot better before that’s possible. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the email-and-revise method for video projects though, as Frame.io demonstrates nicely. If you’re sick of keeping track of email chains and compiling feedback, this app helps you put it all in one place.

A free account gives you 2 GB to work with; for more than that you’ll have to upgrade.

Fiddle.md: Collaborate on Markdown Files

As great as Google Drive is, it’s limited for writers in one key way: it offers a word processor. And while for millions word processors are the default tool for writing, for a growing number of people their paper-focused design is obsolete. Hence the growing popularity of Markdown, a quick way to format documents destined for the web (and not paper). Our complete guide to MarkDown Learning Markdown: Write For The Web, Faster Learning Markdown: Write For The Web, Faster Markdown is essentially a syntax language for formatting text as you write. It’s fast, and built for people who write for the web. Read More is worth checking out if you want more information.

Anyway: Fiddle.md lets you collaborate on Markdown files. The interface features a real-time-preview, and you don’t even need an account to try the service.

fiddle-md-collaborate

Give this one a shot, you’ll probably like it. If not, we’ve outlined a few Markdown editors that play nice with Google Drive 6 Markdown Editors That Play Nice With Google Drive 6 Markdown Editors That Play Nice With Google Drive Markdown is the text editing format of the future. It's simpler, sleeker, and easier to use than HTML without sacrificing much power or flexibility. Read More .

GraphPaper: Ambitious Platform for Combining Tools

If you’re looking for a way to combine a bunch of different collaboration tools, GraphPaper’s probably worth a look. This ambitious tool lets you quickly make a sheet combining text, images and even embeds from other websites.

You even embed an appear.in video chat Move Over Google Plus Hangouts. Appear.in Is Here & It's Really Good Move Over Google Plus Hangouts. Appear.in Is Here & It's Really Good People have been crying out for a decent video conferencing app for ages. We thought that was Google Plus. We were wrong. Meet Appear.in. Read More , if you want to, meaning a meeting and its notes can all live in one tab.

Canavanizer: Online Brainstorming System

If you like the idea of brainstorming with your team, but are looking for something simpler, try Canavanizer. This simple tool gives you a variety of brainstorming templates which you can use to think up ideas with your team.

canavanizer

Create your own canvas, then share it with your team. Let me know what kind of uses you find for this tool, okay?

Notion: Wiki With Real-Time Collaboration

Every company needs a place to store documentation, and for many that means a wiki. But wikis come with one key caveat: they almost all have terrible user interfaces, requiring anyone who needs to make edits to learn a markup language.

notion-wiki-realtime-collaboration

Notion aims to make things simpler, with a number of tools that make editing easier. It also offers real-time collaboration – if something is being edited right now, you’ll know.

The app is currently in private beta, so you’ll need to sign up in order to try it. If you’ve been considering a wiki for your company, consider signing up. If you need something now, check out these self-hosted wiki options 3 Alternatives To MediaWiki When Hosting Your Own Wiki 3 Alternatives To MediaWiki When Hosting Your Own Wiki MediaWiki powers some of the largest wikis in the world. However, just because it's the most popular choice doesn't necessarily mean it's the best. Here are a handful of strong alternatives. Read More .

What Did We Miss?

This column aims to highlight web apps we’ve never featured on MakeUseOf, so there’s a good chance one of your favourite tools wasn’t covered. It’s also possible you know about something great and new that I don’t. Either way, we want to hear from you: let us know your favourite real-time collaboration tools in the comments below, okay?

And also let me know what kind of roundups you’d like to take on in the future. It’s literally my job to find cool apps for you, so feel free to boss me around.

Image Credits: coworking center Via Shutterstock

  1. Steve
    September 15, 2016 at 4:17 am

    Woah. Awesome tools Justin! I was wondering if you had considered updating this to include Blrt (www.blrt.com). Blrt is an asynchronous collaboration tool that allows you to talk, point and draw over images, documents and web projects. It allows teams to remotely collaborate, whilst not missing out on the rich collaboration from face to face communication. We'd be honoured if you considered us for this list :)

  2. Rohit Agarwal
    July 30, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for the post Justin! Good to know of the new tools we can MakeUseOf :)

    If you're looking for something which lets you review and proof all kinds of files - PSDs, Images, Videos, PDFs etc you should check out Framebench. (www.framebench.com)

    The 'Wow' factor is the real time sync, where we don't need to refresh the page to see new comments floating in. I could even playback the videos in sync with 40 other team members!

    • Justin Pot
      July 30, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks Rohit, I'll look into this.

  3. Randall Noval
    April 23, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I am looking for something that is remarkably similar to frame.io but focused more on PSD files (we use them for web design reviews), have you come across anything like that?

  4. Spencer
    April 20, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Hello from Team GraphPaper. Do let us know if you are having problems. Do drop us an in app message and we can help guide you along to use it better. :)

    • Justin Pot
      April 20, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks for stopping by! I'll direct anyone with questions your way, if I see them here.

  5. Anon
    April 19, 2015 at 6:37 am

    The Open Science Framework is useful for people with a research focus. It includes a wiki, file sharing etc

    https://osf.io/

    • Justin Pot
      April 20, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      I'll make a note of this one, thanks!

  6. Violeta Nedkova
    April 18, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Wow, I really didn't know about half of these!!!

    I especially like Canvanizer. I'm even going to ask them if they'd like to use The Meeting Facilitator Canvas (http://amazemeet.com) because people have said it helps. :)

    I have yet to use wiki, but I'll heed your recommendation. Bookmarking!

    • Justin Pot
      April 20, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      Really glad we could point out some things you didn't know about!

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