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MS Office Live Workpaces - free online collaboration

Peter and I take a very methodical approach to our common goals. I was toying with the idea of finding a free SharePoint service out there – when I ran into a free Microsoft service called Microsoft Office Live Workspaces. It was free and all I needed was a windows live account and I could have a space. Well I should add one caveat – you also need to have Internet Explorer to use it! Oh and there was the requirement of having the Silverlight plug-in installed. OK – so after I got through all of the hooplah– I’m still thinking that this is pretty cool.

Here are some useful specs (the good stuff ):

  • Task lists
  • Shared calendars
  • MS Office ( Word, PowerPoint, and Excel)
  • MS Office integration
  • Contact lists
  • Multiple workspaces
  • Permissions (only site level – not item level)
  • Desktop sharing
  • Folders
  • Lists
  • Notes
  • Version control on documents
  • Allows comments on documents / etc
  • Allows sharing of documents
  • 5 gb of storage space
  • Light-weight email notifications
  • Does allow for customization of lists

Here are some limitations

  • No item level permissions
  • Not a strong task management solution
  • No workflows
  • Requires internet explorer
  • Works best when you own Microsoft office
  • Requires several plugins
  • Content Management is very light-weight

All in all – for a free solution – this is a good tool to use. I’ll definitely be using it for small personal projects. It’s a place to dump your files, share task lists, share calendars, etc. It’s god because it allows you to create unlimited numbers of workspaces and to apply permissions accordingly. The interface is also much cleaner with a Web 2.0’ish feel. Microsoft might be onto something with this freebie SharePoint-like wannabe.

If you want to try it out –