online collaboration

Kohive launches premium services – is anyone using the free ones?

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[UK] London-based Kohive, a startup in the collaboration space, has announced the launch of its premium services. This will be of interest to its users – however it’s not clear if it’s being used that much. Most of the people tweeting about it are trying to win an iPod touch in their promotion. Usually startups launch premium services when they have lots of users of their free version. However, admittedly there’s no reason not to create a premium version.

Kohive is an online collaboration platform with a desktop-like interface. There’s a dock of applications on the left and a tab panel at the bottom. Each of these tabs, or “hives” as they call them, provides a completely separate space from which to invite people, share content and communicate with them live. The first impression you’ll get when using the app is that the user interface and experience is very slick. I’ve embedded below a video that shows how the app works.

The new premium plans boast a task management application increased file storage, “pro” hives and multiple identities management. Premium users will also be able to enjoy the iPhone and desktop applications that will be released in the near future.

Kohive has a pretty ambitious roadmap that includes, a part from the desktop application for file synch (Dropbox-like) and an RSS reader app, a Gmail viewer, a Bug Tracking app for developers, iFrame apps and, more interestingly, a “platform-like API”.

The API will allow developers to build more apps on top of their platform, integrate other services (Twitter and Flickr are already implemented) and share revenue. There will in fact be an “app store” where users can pay for the applications they need. I think this is a smart approach though whether it is enough to set them apart from the tough competition that includes Huddle, Basecamp and Google’s newcomer Wave.

So, not much competition there then.

Edward Sanchez, Kohive’s CEO/founder, says he is intent on building a ‘social desktop’. Unfortunately, this is semantics – the desktop has been made social by the Web and the Web cares little for the desktop.

We’d like to hear from you to find out if you’re using Kohive – leave a comment.

Here’s a video that lets you see how the application works:

Kohive Intro from Edward Sanchez on Vimeo.

  • JT

    Just because it is decently executed doesn’t mean there is a demand, let alone a market.

    I already have a desktop and I have plenty of options for sharing. Another layer of desktop metaphor is useless. Thanks very much.

    I’m sure they are nice, but this should never have left the ‘proof of concept’ stage.

  • Chris Beach

    I agree to an extent with JT’s comment about another layer of desktop metaphor being somewhat redundant. However, I rather like Kohive. It combines the familiarity of the desktop paradigm with collaborative aspects that have been implemented neatly and uniformly across the site’s apps.

    Twitter launched into a crowded world of social offerings without an obvious target market. Those who said there was no demand for Twitter are now eating their words. Be mindful of this before writing off Kohive.

  • Colin Tan

    Good idea to go premium, since Kohive would appeal to project managers.

    When you have a market that knows what it wants and needs, you have a market willing to pay for your product if it’s slick enough for the job — and by the look of it, it is… Love the Flickr import!

  • David Gildeh

    This isn’t the first “desktop” collaboration app out there, there’s been loads of them! is one I’ve followed for years and spoken with the CEO a few times, really slick interface and product, but trouble is after a while the novelty wears off and as JT hinted – why do I want another desktop on top of my already very crowded desktop?! If this concept really had traction, StartForce after 4-5 years would have it, but as the CEO told me, it’s hard and businesses don’t really get it! If this concept ever picks up its going to be in the thin-client desktop arena, where literally the user’s OS is only a web browser and the AJAX desktop is the first thing that loads.

    At SambaStream we also went for a “slick” rich interface for our collaboration platform SambaJAM (in fact we use the Google Web Toolkit version of the UI libraries Kohive is using), but decided to make it look more like a desktop application that sits on the user’s existing desktop alongside other desktop applications as this is what makes the most sense to end users who are used to multi-tasking between windows on their desktop, not windows inside another window on their desktop!

    Perhaps Kohive can look into Google Chrome OS and how to enable businesses to strip away real costs and issues with managing thick-client PCs! I have a million ideas about this space, especially in the enterprise arena, and always happy to share them ;)

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