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Real Time Online Collaboration
updated by rck, 2008-03-08

Sometimes, a forum or even a chat is not enough. You want direct communication with someone across the world, with voice and visual support. For quite some time now Skype is one of the leading Voice-over-IP solutions, even having support for connecting to the outside world (=regular phones) and creating phone conferences (=phoning with multiple people).

Add a nice screen-sharing program to that, maybe even a collection of web-based productivity applications and you should be able to discuss and write down your ideas pretty quickly.
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Web-based documents

You now know how to talk to each other for free, even if it's on the other side of the world. You know how to see each other, without a video-phone. And you can share your screen, too. But still, you cannot work together on the same thing without file transfers.

That's where Google Documents come in. You can work together on the same document, at the same time. And invite others to join you. While you don't even need NetMeeting to do that, it makes life easier. For example, if you want to talk about a web-project and want to share your in-development graphics and sites with others.

Preparing Google Documents

Google Documents
Google Documents
Getting ready for Google Documents is easy. Just log in to Google Documents (you might need to create a Google account first). There, you can click the "New" Icon to create either Text-Document, Spreadsheet or Presentation.

As soon as you've entered your new document, you can share it to your collaboration partners. Whether you do this prior to or after the meeting is of course up to you (think Meeting minutes).

Running Google Documents

Google Documents are pretty intuitive. Click on one of the documents in the list to start editing it. Every change you do will be protocoled. You can also see at a glance, who is currently editing the product as well who is allowed to edit the document at all.

You could also consider creating some kind of folder structure within your documents. Maybe one folder minutes, with all the meeting minutes? And another one for quotes? Your imagination is the only limit.

A nice tip for web-based projects: You can also include pictures in your documents. Just create them on your local PC and upload them.
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