Dropio jumps into 'the stream,' goes real-time

File-sharing start-up, which prides itself on simplicity and user privacy, is the latest to jump on the "streaming" craze.

This is the new Dropio interface with a chat pop-up at the bottom. Dropio

When Facebook announced that its news feed would turn into a real-time "stream" of updates and media, it became clear that the Twitter-like model of fast-moving information flow was gaining a real foothold in the dot-com world.

Now, file-sharing service Dropio has opted to turn its "drops"--the pages where people can drag and drop any number of multimedia files and then password-protect them--into streams optimized for collaborative work. If you're working in one of them, it updates instantly for all users.

There's also a new feature, much like in Google Docs, Zoho, and other collaboration tools, which lets all members looking at a given "drop" chat with one another. Dropio has also turned on access to drops from third-party chat clients with Jabber support, like Adium and Pidgin.

But founder and CEO Sam Lessin said that he doesn't see the collaboration-focused new development as bringing Dropio, which turned on Twitter support last summer, in competition with the Web's numerous productivity-suite applications.

"We're still not interested in, and we're not competing in the 'let's open up a document and edit it together in real time' space," Lessin said to CNET News. "I've yet to see...a normal workflow where you want to do that. The workflow for us is much more along the lines of opening up a pipe between 15 people who are collaborating or 100 people who are in a conference audience and let them collaborate around the event."

A more direct competitor, he said, would be the 37Signals product Campfire.

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