A Finnish startup Flowdock is coming out with a new real-time collaboration tool Flowdock. On the face of it, it looks like the company has combined Yammer and Google Wave into a one service which currently runs in the browser.
Flowdock has been developed by the same founders that are behind Nodeta, a software developing consultancy that also offers hosting services. Now they are building a new independent product and have assembled an own team to make it happen. They are considering spinning the company into its own entity, but at least for the moment its living under Nodeta's legal entity.
The idea for the product was born out of a need that the founders had when they did not find a good product to log hours for the client projects they did. As with most products, what came out is something completely different as the idea evolved.
I believe Flowdock works best for companies that, to this day, communicate and work through Skype conference chat windows. Flowdock offers more than Skype but still not too much, even though I would still like the product to be a bit more bare bones compared to what it currently is. What I like about it for example compared to Google Wave is that it keeps everything in one continuous flow instead of letting the users spread the conversation into different threads. This creates the situation where every topic needs to have its own thread, but since people are not 100% organized we start to mix threads and chaos ensues. This is of course exactly what Yammer does, but compared to Yammer Flowdock is much faster. In fact as fast as any instant message service.
The tagging feature, which Twitter discovered with hash tags, gives Flowdock the opportunity to be more than Skype chat even though still being simple. Something that I particularly like is that for example all the files will be automatically tagged with #files tag. Same goes for links. This makes them easy to search. That said, there was some additional features that cluttered the product a bit too much and especially the fact that the screen was divided in two left me hoping for more simplicity.
Disclaimer: Karri Saarinen, an ArcticStartup co-founder, is also a part-time Nodeta employee and has worked on the Flowdock product.