The real appeal of the web is how its reduced the time it takes to get your work done. And compared to other web based services, productivity software have established revenue models with offering premium services or hosted services specifically for businesses. A new start-up called Etherpad now adds another layer to online collaboration by supporting real-time editing of documents across the net.
Etherpad allows users to share the URL of the document with anyone and make real time changes to the document. Each user is assigned a background text color so they can track the changes as they are being made. The feature has its skeptics and supporters. Some contend that live editing is not a necessary requirement. But when it comes to note taking during meetings, or collaborating within a group on a piece of literature, this is one cool way to track of changes and edits.
Its not that other online text editors cannot support similar feature. Perhaps its not a feature on top of their wish-list. The service does not require any signing up.