Foldera Launches Public Beta with V 3.0

Collaborative communications tool, Foldera, is going into public beta today with the release of their 3.0 version (Note: Michael Arrington is on the board of directors of the company). Foldera is aimed at small to medium sized businesses looking to aggregate all of their project related communications into collaboratively managed folders – think of it as Outlook online, but self-organizing by topic. It competes with Outlook/Microsoft Sharepoint, Live Office, and recently profiled Orgoo.

We covered last year’s private beta. The 3.0 version features simple search across all your content (contacts, emails, events, tasks, and files), contextual help, and an intuitive drag and drop interface.

Once your organization is on Foldera, you can trade information and bundle your projects into discrete folders. You get your group started by each signing up for accounts and importing your email and contacts from Outlook, Gmail, or Yahoo contact list on to the service. Editing and access to contacts can be managed through permissions. Foldera’s user interface looks very similar to Gmail’s AJAX interface. On the left hand side, you have a list of folders by subject containing your calendar, email, files, and tasks tied to that subject. The main pane on the right shows the content.

Folders are permission controlled workgroups, where you can send emails, assign tasks, trade files, and plan events on the calendar. All activity from that folder can be commented on by other users and is tied to that folder and the contacts it’s shared with. When you receive email replies to messages you sent from within the folder, they’re automatically filed in that folder for all members to see.

Within the folders you can also plan events, assign tasks, and share files (1GB of storage). When tasks are completed, the person who assigned them is notified by email. The calendar is a lot like Google calendar, with the ability to easily overlay events from other folders or users, but doesn’t allow exporting or importing feeds. The file system tracks versions of files as they are uploaded to the service and lets you easily attach them to emails.

Google’s addition of folders to Google Docs generated a great deal of conversation yesterday over the benefits of tags and folders. However, Foldera’s folders are a bit more flexible than traditional folders because they do allow files to linked to multiple projects (folders) in their drag and drop interface.

Foldera is Free for 5 users, but charges an extra $6 a month for each user beyond that.

Foldera is very late to launch, and some users who expressed enthusiasm over a year ago may now have moved on to other solutions. Give it a try and let us know what you think.