Podio Adds IM; Video Chat Coming Soon - InformationWeek
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Podio Adds IM; Video Chat Coming Soon

Citrix's task-focused social business tool adds real-time collaboration to online workspaces.

Enterprise Social Networks: Must-Have Features Guide
Enterprise Social Networks: Must-Have Features Guide
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The Podio social collaboration platform from Citrix is adding real-time collaboration for the first time, with a Podio Chat feature that launched Thursday and video chat to follow soon.

"At the end of the day, Podio is a collaborative workspace, and we're adding a more real-time aspect to how you'll be able to collaborate there," said Bernardo de Albergaria, vice president and general manager of software-as-a-service products at Citrix.

Last year, Citrix bought Podio, a startup from Denmark, adding it to the family of online applications that includes GoToMeeting. The video chat feature will be based on a browser plugin derived from GoToMeeting technology and should be available by the end of May, de Albergaria said. The press release says it will be available this summer.

[ What should you look for in a collaboration tech developer? Read 8 Ways To Judge Collaboration Technology Vendors. ]

The goal is to add support for synchronous communications to Podio, which until now has supported asynchronous communications in the form of social posting and commenting on items. Otherwise, Podio distinguishes itself with an emphasis on task management and the ability for users to create simple "apps" for structured collaboration. The Podio visual app builder aims to make the creation of form-driven Web applications as easy as working with a spreadsheet -- which for decades has served as the lowest-common-denominator tool for organizing information when more sophisticated applications aren't available or aren't flexible enough to the demands of the moment.

Podio chat for iPhone
Podio chat for iPhone.

Although some other social collaboration tools, such as Yammer, also provide an integrated Web-based chat tool, de Albergaria said Podio's version is different because it makes chat available within a specific workspace associated with a set of tasks, making it more valuable for getting work done.

One limitation of this form of instant messaging is that a user must have the social application running in a Web browser in order to get alerts, unlike IM through a desktop tool such as Microsoft Lync that can be left running in the background all the time. However, Podio Chat will send the same message as an email alert if the other recipient is not online, de Albergaria said. The Podio mobile client for iPhone, iPad and Android also supports the chat feature.

The Podio video chat option is intended for quick face-to-face conversations. Customers who also subscribe to GoToMeeting can already schedule meetings through Podio, which can include video as well as screen sharing.

A Podio chat tutorial

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr or Google+.

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