Peepel: Free office applications in a virtual desktop

Web-based applications in a virtual desktop. Feel like you're in "Minority Report?" Yeah, so do we.

Peepelis a new Web-based office suite that's managed entirely within one browser window to emulate the feel of a desktop workspace. Included is a word processor, a spreadsheet application, and a calculator. Multiple instances of each application can be run at the same time, and all share the same tool bar (which takes design cues from the ribbon in Office 2007). The idea is to emulate the desktop experience, which is aided with the equivalent of a central start button to launch the applications.

To help you work within the confines of your browser, there are a few handy tools, like a workspace "save" feature that lets you organize and save a group of files, so you can open and save them as a group. The function is similar to Adobe Photoshop's custom workspace feature. There's also a button to cascade and group together applications according to their type.

Files are saved in the OpenDocument format, which will work with OpenOffice (but not Microsoft's Word or Excel applications). Each file is limited to 2MB, and files can be saved to your hard drive or to a virtual drive on the service. (We couldn't track down information on the storage limit. ) If you're crafty, you can also save as a PDF file by using the print function.

The one thing missing from the otherwise slick interface is the capability to collaborate with others--one of the benefits and standard features of major Web based word processors and spreadsheet tools like Zoho, and Google Docs and Spreadsheets. According to the site's FAQ (PDF file), sharing will be enabled later.

The Peepel creators have put together an explanatory video (sans audio), which I've embedded below. For some screenshots of Peepel in action, click the "read more" link.

[via Startup Squad]

The basic user interface, with all three apps open at once. CNET Networks
Clicking the large Peepel button on the top right will pull down a launch menu. CNET Networks
Peepel features a workspace and file manager. CNET Networks

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