Google Docs has changed the landscape of computing office suites. By moving everything to the cloud, accessing documents is easier now than it ever has been. But unlike a lot of the other things Google is working on, Google Docs isn’t particularly social. Socialwok, a startup that won the demopit competition today at TechCrunch50 adds a great social layer to Google Docs.
Right now, if you want to share a document via Google Docs, most people do it by emailing it to other users. The process to do this is very clunky — even though Google obviously runs not only Google Docs, but a hugely popular email service, Gmail. If you try to IM a document to someone, you either have to make it fully public, or put a persons email address in to make sure they’re on a safe list for that document. Socialwok simplifies all of this immensely because its a social network that wraps around these documents.
But it’s not just Google Docs, it’s really a lot of Google Apps. You can see YouTube video, and Google Calendar events from Socialwok too. And Calendar integration is particularly nice because you can update and post items right from your stream.
If you are a FriendFeed user, Socialwok will look very familiar — the UI is nearly identical. The difference is that rather than having YouTube videos, tweets, and the like in your stream, you have all the various kinds of Google documents. This even includes the still-in-beta-testing Google Wave.
You can leave comments on these items (or if it’s Google Wave, pull in the whole Wave), as well as easily share via the various social networks including Twitter, Facebook and yes, FriendFeed. There is also a Twitter-esque, “What are you doing now” box to input messages.
Obviously, security has to be a concern here. Not all of your documents have to be shared with everyone in your Socialwok network. But there are groups you can create to limit document sharing.
Socialwok has a mobile interface that is just as robust as the web interface. They built the mobile website relying heavily on HTML5, so it works as well as Gmail’s mobile web app works, we’re told.
But what’s really great with Socialwok is that rather than having to sign up for yet another social network, you sign in to Socialwok simply by using your Google credentials (the ones tied to your Google Docs account). The company has been working pretty extensively with Google to get all of this working so seamlessly.
Simply put, if Google doesn’t buy these guys, they should seriously consider emulating many of the things they are doing or at least heavily promoting what they’re doing. (If there isn’t enough Google tie-ins for you already, all of Socialwok runs on Google App Engine.)
Until then, the business model for Socialwok is a freemium model. There will be a basic free version and paid subscriptions will get additional administrative features and dedicated support.
Watch more in the demo video below: