Did you every have a frustrating email conversation with someone where you keep emailing attachments back and forth while trying to collaborate on something?  Did you wish you could both be typing and editing the same document at the same time while communicating about it?  How about doing all this online, real-time collaboration for free?

Etherpad.net was created by AppJet Inc. in 2008 to do all this and more.   It was such a successful web based collaborative real-time editor that Google bought themtherpadin December of 2009.  Inevitably the features in etherpad will become available in Google Docs

In the meantime, an open source release of etherpad has allowed for the creation of many “clones” of the original which are still available online.  One of the best of these is PiratePad.net which is hosted by The Pirate Party in Sweden.  Here is a link to more information about other etherpad clones and a review of each one:  http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20004686-248.html

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