Text Collaboration Tool

picture-18If you’re working on a document with a co-writer or editor, the constant stream of emails (and keeping up with which is the latest) or the endless phone or chat conversations are probably bogging things down more than they’re helping. This site, doingText, hopes to solve that problem.

Currently in closed beta, the site promises to launch very soon. Here’s how it works:

Once logged in, the user sees a text box with a lot of tools around it. This is matched with a similar box on your collaborator’s screen. Then you begin putting in the document and editing. The initial document can be started there from scratch or cut-pasted into place.

Markup tools, highlighters to point your collaborator at specific points, and other tools help speed the process. You can begin a document, put in the markup you wish your cowriter(s) look at, and then invite them to the document via a unique URL for it—they don’t have to have an account at doingText.

Discussions can be open (non-private) or password-protected through SSL, at the user’s discretion. Notifications of other doingText members of a pending or current discussion on a document can be sent via email or social feeds (RSS/Twitter). Comments on various portions of the text are highlighted and, when selected, function sort of like a sticky note with information and linkables on it.

Comments and markups are sorted chronologically, so the newest ones are easily found and specific “versions” of the text can be made or referenced. Through this system, you can remove changes (or revert to a version of the document) easily.

The tool promises to be useful for some, but I don’t see a large market for this. Those who use collaboration regularly generally already have something for it, but this is a big step up from Word revision histories and email passing of documents for comment.

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