If Facebook or MySpace are overwhelmingly public for your needs, Nexo -- recently acquired by Shutterfly -- provides a tool to create a collaborative destination for smaller groups. Although it could be more polished, Nexo (www.nexo.com
)supports loads of activity organization and is great for sharing multimedia among small groups.
Simple to use, but not verypretty
Getting started took less than five minutes. Clicking the Create Site button under the Family Site option on Nexo's homepage launched a setup wizard, and after inputting our information, it created a site with its own Web address to which we could invite members. The main page of our site was aesthetically unimpressive and simply listed the different components, including Calendar, Directory, Favorites, Files, Guest Book, and Photos. However, we were able to spice up the page by changing the themes and tweaking the text and background color.
The Calendar and the Directory sections were easy to navigate and add new entries to, but others were less intuitive. For example, buttons to start a new discussion topic in the group forums area in Guest Book were not in an obvious location. Google's Groups has a smaller learning curve for the novice user because it doesn't involve as much menu digging. However, with Nexo, you don't have to be in your browser to start a group discussion or participate in a thread, as you can contribute via e-mail.
Upload YourPhotos and Video
Our Family site was best put to use for sharing files and pictures; we simply uploaded a folder of 50 vacation pictures to the photos section of our site and labeled them (a feature both Google Groups and Yahoo Groups lack). We also liked the ability to add and view videos, but we wish we could post personal videos straight to our pages; as is, you can do so only from Yahoo or YouTube.
Nexo as a Business Tool...Not Likely
Beyond sharing information and media with family and friends, Nexo's Business Group offering is ideal for aggregating contact information, bookmarks, and calendars among associates. While we liked the interface for sharing calendars, we prefer Google Calendar for this function.
Our Verdict on Nexo Beta
Nexo's current beta status and our experience with it reveal that it has a long way to go. However, for getting your softball team or extended family to collaborate and share photos and schedules outside a crowded social network, Nexo hits the spot.
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