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New JotSpot Software Aims To Make Wikis Less 'Nerdy'

JotSpot Wiki 2.0 makes wikis behave and feel more like a Microsoft Office application, which could help propel them into the mainstream.

Wiki application company JotSpot today launched JotSpot Wiki 2.0, a new version of its online collaboration software that aims to bring wikis into the mainstream.

In Hawaiian, "wiki wiki" means "quick." Joe Kraus, co-founder and CEO of JotSpot contends that the wiki metaphor has demonstrated its power through sites like Wikipedia, which draws tens of millions unique users every month. And eBay's recent decision to embrace wikis further validates the concept for online businesses.

But, Kraus observes, wikis "still remain nerdy" in how they look and function. While JotSpot can't rid the world of the overly precious term "wiki," the company expects its upgraded software to make them more familiar in form and function.

"This is merging together the application capability that JotSpot has always had with the wiki metaphor," say Kraus. "We really think its wikis meets Microsoft Office."

Toward that end, the new version comes with pre-defined page types, or templates, that conform to common uses. These include collaborative calendars, file repositories, photo galleries, and spreadsheets than can be created with a single click.

The JotSpot Tracker spreadsheet now behaves more like Microsoft Excel in terms of text wrapping, copying, pasting, and other common operations.

And the pages themselves can be more easily customized through the use of personalized logos, color schemes, and other design elements. Access to pages can also be controlled more finely, reflecting the need to limit access to certain functions in a corporate environment.

While JotSpot counts more than 2,000 organizations, including British Telecom and Intel, and 30,000 users as customers, Kraus suggests that small businesses between 10 and 200 people "that have all of the collaborative problems of very large enterprises and none of the budget or staff" see the most benefit from JotSpot. Even so, he says that large enterprise clients like the ability to build their own custom applications on the JotSpot platform.

Plenty of bloggers use JotSpot, too. But, Kraus observes, the company doesn't make much money from them because they tend to opt for the free plan.

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