Peepel.com today announced the Beta launch of its Online Office Suite, entering a competitive market alongside existing vendors like Zoho, ThinkFree, Zimbra - not to mention Google's growing Web Office suite.
Peepel claims to differentiate itself by being "the only competitor offering a true multiple windows system in an online desktop." Users can open as many applications, files and tools as they wish "in multiple, resizable PeepelWindows on the same PeepelDesktop in the one browser window." They aren't pop-ups and can be resized, moved, stacked or cascaded.
The Peepel suite includes Peepel WebSheet (online spreadsheet), Peepel WebWriter (online word processor) and Peepel Desktop (a virtual desktop running in a web browser). Also Peepel WebMaps is "very near to release." As with most of its competitors, Peepel is free to use.
Other interesting features include the PeepelPanel (which changes depending on which application is active), the Peepel TaskManager (used to make a window active) and the Peepel WorkSpace Manager (used to return to a desktop, as it was the last time it was saved).
Peepel is an interesting new entrant to the Web Office suite space, however at this point it looks to have some key limitations. For example importing of files is not available as yet. Also sharing of files with other users is unavailable. Plus there is a limit to your storage space (unspecified) and the individual file size limit is 2Mb. So it has a fair bit of catching up to do with Zoho, ThinkFree, Zimbra and Google - all of which are established and sophisticated Web Office suites.
However Peepel does have an offline work mode, which is "in alpha stage". Also it works in both Firefox and IE (no word on whether it supports Apple OS). In my initial tests, it performed well and has a slick, very usable interface.
One other note. The terms and conditions sound overly harsh:
"Peepel reserves the right to cancel anyones account at any time for any reason.
Peepel reserves the right to change terms at any time without notification to the user."
I don't know about you, but I'm not comfortable putting my office files into a service that can cancel my account "at any time for any reason."
Overall it is an interesting new entrant, although at this point seems to fall short of its competition in several key features (file importing, sharing, APIs - to name the ones that immediately stand out). But I will test it out some more. Let us know in the comments what you think...
Peepel multiple windows