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SaaS Collaboration Software Gets Upgrade

Central Desktop has launched Central Desktop 2.0, the latest version of the company's SaaS collaboration product. The 2.0 version offers tighter integration with e-mail and an upgraded user interface. The software lets users create collaboration workspaces that include components such as discussion forums, blogs and wikis. Users can also create and track tasks, exchange messages and files and link to outside services such as Twitter and Facebook.

Central Desktop 2.0 lets users post messages to a workspace via e-mail. For example, if a user posts a comment in a workspace, an e-mail is sent to other coworkers who belong to that workspace. With the new integration, coworkers can reply via e-mail and their comments will be posted to the workspace without the need to log in to the site. Central Desktop CEO Isaac Garcia says this was a popular request among customers. Users can also design new workspaces and save them as templates that other employees can use. The new version gives users more choices in the use of pictures, avatars and colors. Other new features include a viewer for 189 types of files of up to one gigabyte.

The new interface is "much better and easier to understand," says Grant Simmons, director of SEO project management for The Search Agency Inc., a 150-employee search marketing and optimization company. Simmons introduced Central Desktop to his company 14 months ago, after having used it at a prior job. "There is no perfect project management system, but this is pretty good," he says.

The software is intended for small and mid-size businesses, particularly for companies with 100 to 300 employees. Garcia says Central Desktop has about 2,800 clients and 125,000 users, including companies such as Netflix, as well as many others who use a free version of the software.

The new version is available now. It costs $99 for a single user or $10 per month per user with a minimum of 50 users and an annual contract. Organizations can upgrade licensed users in increments of 50. The software runs on Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and also offers a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook. Later in the year, Central Desktop expects to offer a marketplace to let users trade workspace templates outside their own organizations. The company also plans to support WebDAV and offer enhanced support for users that access Central Desktop via mobile phones.