Since Google Wave's launch, we've seen a slew of real-time, short-form collaboration tools.
From massively multiplayer Q&A app Quora to invite-only, group-scrapbooking tool TwitAlbums to developer-centric, code-coaching resource Squad, the web is rife with sites focused on making groups more communicative and more efficient. Teambox has popped up on our radar as "a Twitter-like project collaboration tool," and it fits right in with this trend.
This app allows users to share text, tasks and files. Much like topics in Quora, activities in Teambox can be followed by users who need to stay updated, publish updates to their team or view the related stream of information. Projects are invite-only, and users can choose who the collaborators will be and determine permissions for each person.
Communications occur through threaded topics. Participants in a conversation are notified via email when their topic is updated. Tasks are updated in series of comments and act as to-dos that can be assigned, modified and completed.
The app further allows for sharing files of any size, and profile pages allow supervisors or others to see what a particular user has been working on lately.
The Twitter-like UX is familiar and fast, and the interface seems simultaneously lightweight and robust. For project management and team collaboration - including distributed teams - we can see this application going over very well.
Best of all, Teambox is a free and open source project. The app is built using Ruby on Rails, and while the web version of the app is perfect for small- or medium-size teams, larger companies can host Teambox on their own servers - which might also be good news for users and admins concerned with data security.
These distinctions set Teambox apart from Basecamp, a popular product from 37signals that also provides web-based project management tools.
Although the web app is completely free, Teambox also offers paid features, such as server installation for self-hosting, customer support and white-label versions.
What do you think? Is Teambox's Twitter/Basecamp mashup something you could use at your company or for a group side project? Let us know what you think of the application in the comments.
Or, for a bonus round of backstory, check out the ReadWriteWeb Spain interview with founder Pablo Villalba.