My top 3 reasons for using LotusLive and not Microsoft BPOS and Google Apps

We welcome a new contributor to the LotusLive Blog – Erik Vos of RealConnections!

Many of you will be taking a close look at IBM, Microsoft and Google when choosing an online collaboration system.

I have worked with all 3 systems for more than 4 months now, and I would like to share the top 3 benefits of LotusLive.

1. Tagging (including type ahead)
There is no tagging in Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS. Google and Microsoft work with the traditional folder structure.

The big disadvantage I personally experience with working with folders is that most of the time I put documents in one folder, and other people put the same document in a different folder. Tagging in LotusLive solves this issue because you can add several tags to one item.

For some people tagging is maybe new, and we need to give explanations (video instructions) about using tags. It saves me a lot of time when I am searching documents within LotusLive. I first use the tagcloud, and if that does not bring me the answer, I use the search bar.

Within Google and Microsoft you first use the search and if that does not work you go down the folder structure

2. Download history
When sharing a document, LotusLive tells you if the other person has downloaded the shared document and when.

Within Google Apps or Microsoft BPOS you can also (within different ways) share documents easily, however you do not really know if the other person has seen this document until he comes back with you with via comments or e-mail.

In my opinion only if the other person downloads the document, you are really working on the same item/activity/transaction and now this is known without asking him by phone/chat or e-mail.

Maybe it sound strange, but I find this feature gives you the real feeling how close you work with the other person.

3. Update view on homepage
On the homepage of LotusLive you always see the latest updates (for example; a new version of document has been upload, people who have updated their profile, people who have accepted your invitations).

With Google and Microsoft you can get updated by notifications via e-mail or RSS feeds. And I do not like that, because getting notifications always needs one (small) action from my part. Which most of the time I forget. The update view on your homepage gives the information you did not asked for, however it is very useful information.  It informs you on the right level.

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!