Before learning of Mozilla TowTruck in class today, my experience of real time online collaboration tools had been limited to spreadsheets on Google Drive. And even that emerged recently enough that I could quickly resurrect gchats with remarks like “OMG! I CAN SEE YOU HIGHLIGHTING THAT ROW ON THE SPREADSHEET!” Working in real time on anything, at all, is still relatively new.
In a nutshell, the online verdict is TowTruck looks promising, but is far from perfect. Mozilla says the system should still be considered “alpha quality” and not yet ready to be used in serious production. This excellent review that said TowTruck was indeed surprisingly easy to use. It’s easy to install, to invite collaborators, and audio quality was generally good. The text chat does indeed work across browsers and operating systems, but the audio chat between two computers gets wonky when neither computer is using Firefox. It’s presently only possible to use between two computers, and hasn’t really been tested on mobile.
The project is open source, so theoretically anyone could improve it at any time. TowTruck is similar to Google Drive because it borrows from Google Drive , which made its Real Time collaboration technology open source.
The company promises more mobile support in 2013. It’s not quite “there” yet, but if it continues to develop, this tool could be a big part of our lives, soon.
Make yourself useful.