I just spent the last few hours engaged in conversation with Stephen Kelly, the Founder and CEO of Peepel. This application was released a few months ago and has been profiled on a number of popular blogs including Mashable, however, if you haven’t done so already, it really is really worth the time to take a look at it. If you haven’t you really should check it out.
Peepel is an online collaborative office suite that includes a desktop environment that has multiple window capability, built in RSS, a notifier, file management, email, word processing, a spreadsheet, contact management, file sharing/collaboration, a mini-web browser, pre-defined document templates and even a workspace manager that sits on top of your desktop and changes functionality depending upon which component of Peepel you are using.
Looking at Peepel (having come from Foldera, a company that operates in a similar space) I expected to hear that dozens of developers had been working on this application for a couple of years. I was shocked to find that this was not the case – it has been some time that they’ve been building this impressive application but the team is tiny. It just goes to show what sort of magic the best developers can produce when they really do understand agile development and know their stuff absolutely cold.
It does take a little getting used to the interface but once you sort out how to navigate and understand a few of the program’s limitations it is an eminently suitable environment for 90% of what the average student or office worker needs to do every day.
One limitation is that you can only import a limited number of document types, these being .xls and .doc and a few other similar file types. While this may seem like a bad thing to an advanced user, for a teacher deploying this for a class or for a small business that needs to keep employees on task these built in limitation may actually prove to be more boon than bane.
Although we didn’t talk about plans for generating revenue with Peepel, it seems obvious to me that it could certainly be advertising subsidized and perhaps offer a premium, ad free version for a monthly subscription fee or a per user seat agreement.
Currently the application is free and you really ought to take a few minutes to check it out, if nothing else, at least to see just how much a disciplined development team can accomplish.