EtherPad Launches A Virtual Document Time Machine

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AppJet’s EtherPad, the real-time Google Docs-like wiki tool that was recently upgraded to become more collaborative, has launched an uber-cool tool that definitely worth a look. Called the “Time-Slider,” the feature lets you see the complete history of a document’s evolution.

Here’s how it works. EtherPad keeps track of all your typing in realtime. At any time during the course of typing a document on EtherPad, you can click on the “Time-Slider” button that will play an animation of your document to see how it evolved over time. The tool also features a timeline where you can click into any stage of the document and see the evolution from that point.

You can also create “bookmark” in the document’s timeline to mark certain points during the evolution of document that you’d like to go back to. Time-slider is a really interesting tool, if only for the nifty screencast of your document’s evolution. But seriously, when it comes to collaboration between several people, the time-slider could be useful to see how a particular document took form.

You can also test out EtherPad’s new tool here, when the startup captured Paul Graham writing an essay on startups.

EtherPad was the brainchild of former Googlers (who founded online programming tool and Y Combinator funded AppJet) who wanted a real-time, yet group oriented way to collaborate on notes and documents. Thus, EtherPad was born. EtherPad continues to upgrade its product with compelling features and innovations. The startup recently partnered with video-chat startup TokBox to offer document collaboration.

And earlier this summer, EtherPad got a user interface makeover and added the ability to import and export Word, PDF, Plain Text and HTML documents. Appjet made writing a document in EtherPad more like writing out notes in Word or Google Docs, adding rich text formatting, including bold, underline, italics and strikethrough commands to the wiki. And organization of notes within a document became a little better with the ability to add bullet points. EtherPad’s tools and functionality could just give Google Docs a run for its money.

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