Back in 2013, YouSendIt changed its name to Hightail because it had evolved beyond its original file-sharing roots. Today, the core of the service is still about sharing files, but with a greater focus on professional use. To emphasize this, the company is officially launching Hightail Spaces out of beta today, a new tool that wants be the Google Docs for visual files — and kill email attachments in the process.
Hightail Spaces is a collaboration service that allows teams to share images, PDFs, presentations and other documents and then comment on them or annotate them. The service also supports video files. Annotating them is similar to how SoundCloud handles comments, in that annotations will appear on the timeline.
There is currently no limit to the size and number of files users can upload.
The company is offering a free plan for those who only need up to two spaces. Everybody else will have to upgrade to a pro plan for $15/month.
The Hightail team tells me that the idea here is to replace email as a collaboration tool. Arguably, services like Dropbox and Box have similar goals and offer some collaboration features, but Hightail argues that they don’t offer great feedback mechanisms or version control.
And while Google Docs solves some of these problems, Hightail argues that it doesn’t support visual files as well as it does.
Users can link their Spaces to Dropbox and the service will automatically notice when you add new or updated files to your Dropbox folder. When signing in with Gmail, users can also choose which attachments they want to bring into the service. Because no service these days is complete without some Slack integration, Spaces also lets its users share Hightail Spaces right to a Slack channel.
At the center of all of this is the project dashboard, which lets project owners monitor comments and track document downloads, for example.