There’s seemingly no end to the number of collaboration tools out there: blogs, wikis, forums, bookmarking, photos, chat. Chances are you already use one or more of them already to keep in touch with friends or coworkers. The only problem is that all these platforms don’t work together very well.
Grou.ps is trying to fix that integration problem. They’ve created a service that lets you run all of your group’s collaboration tools from one Grou.ps domain using a single login. The system supports wikis, photos, links, blogs, calendars, chat, forums, maps, profiles, and subgroups – each of which is available as a plug-and-play module for your community. These modules also allow users to pull in their data from other third party services (flickr, Digg, blogs, more listed in the image below). Each module adds a new tab to your navigation bar where users can access the module’s features. Here’s an example group for Chemists worldwide.
While today marks their Beta launch in the US, the company already has over 150K members and 10K groups internationally (Chile and Turkey are most popular). Grou.ps is backed by Golden Horn Ventures.
Grou.ps isn’t the only startup trying to solve the integration problem. Ning and Wetpaint have integrated forums and various forms of media into their community products. Google and Zoho also have have very compelling collaboration suites. A single sign-on can get you chat, email, presentations, documents, wikis, and many other tools.
However, Grou.ps benefits from being simple like Ning and Wetpaint, yet focused on productivity like Google and Zoho. They present a simple free solution for moderated online collaboration.