We don't usually get very excited when we hear about a new task management service. After all, with Basecamp, Remember the Milk, Todo and numerous other services already in this market, what could really be so interesting about the next new service? It turns out that there is still a lot that can be improved, however. The New York-based team behind Producteev took a close look at the task management services on the market today and distilled everything it learned into the latest version of Producteev.

The Problem with Online Task Management

As the company's founder and CEO Ilan Abehassera told us yesterday, the major issue with most of today's task management services is that they don't plug into the the ecosystem of tools you already use. Producteev Two, on the other hand, allows users to create tasks by email and IM. In addition, the company will launch a free iPhone app with push notifications in the next few days and plans to release a desktop client for the Mac later this month. After this, Producteev will also launch iPad and Android apps, as well as an Outlook plugin.

As Abehassera told us, most of today's task management apps are still largely either completely web-based or only available on the desktop or mobile phone. Most of us, however, use a mix of web apps, desktop tools and mobile apps. In order for a task management system to be effective, it has to be available on all of these platforms and the different apps have to stay synchronized at all times. Thanks to Producteev's real-time backend, the company is able to keep your to-do lists synchronized no matter what platform you use to access the service. The service also syncs with Google Calendar.

Adding Tasks from Virtually Anywhere

Adding tasks to Producteev is really where the service shines. While you can use the web interface to manually enter tasks, you can also simply forward an email to Producteev and use the subject line to tag it with a due date for the task. Instead of using Gmail's stars or sending yourself reminders and to-do lists, you can simply forward your email to Producteev and forget about it until it becomes relevant again.

If you prefer, you can also send Producteev an IM (Gtalk, AIM, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo and ICQ) or a Twitter DM with the task, name of the project and due date. Gmail and iGoogle users will also be able to install a small widget in these services that connects them to their Producteev workspaces.. Once the company's desktop and mobile apps launch, adding and managing tasks will become even easier.

Working in Teams

The service was clearly designed with small and medium teams in mind. Just like in most current productivity apps for groups, you can assign tasks to team members and track the progress of a project.

Producteev is free for individuals and teams with fewer than four users. Larger teams pay between $9 and and $89 per month and get access to more workspaces, filters and disk space for attachments than users with free accounts.

Producteev Academy: Task Management Meets Game Mechanics

In addition to its task management tools, Producteev Two also features a built-in social game that rewards productivity with Foursquare-like badges. This is obviously meant to incentivize productivity and some teams on the Producteev Two beta have already put this feature to good use. If you prefer, though, you can also turn these game mechanics off.

Verdict

Overall, it's hard not be impressed by Producteev Two. The team managed to combine the best aspects of today's task management systems into one and once the company releases its desktop and mobile apps, Producteev will be able to offer one of the easiest to use and most complete task management solutions on the market.

The company is entering a very crowded field with a large number of competitors, ranging from online tools like Basecamp to desktop productivity apps like OmniFocus. If Producteev can fulfill its promise to launch a desktop tool, as well as more mobile apps, then it could easily replace many of these tools in the market place. Unlike most of its competitors on the desktop, Producteev's tools will be available for free for small groups. A single-user license for OmniFocus cost almost $50 and most high-end productivity apps for the iPhone retail for between $10 and $20. This gives Producteev the advantage when it comes to price, but as we noted above, in terms of functionality, the Producteev team also manages to best most of its direct competitors.

Screencast Producteev Two from Producteev.com on Vimeo.