Launching in public beta on Tuesday is ProofHQ, a new entrant to the world of Web collaboration tools. The service is focused mostly on design work, but has been set up to handle nearly every kind of document and illustration format under the sun.
Like Conceptshare, a tool , ProofHQ is entirely Web-based, and designed to make collaborating on projects of all magnitudes something that happens outside of your e-mail in-box.
On Monday co-founder and CEO Mat Atkinson took me through the entire process of proofing something among multiple parties. What makes it a standout among some of the competition is its capability to integrate with other tools or workflows you might be used to. For instance, users of 37signals' Basecamp can link it up with their account to help manage proofing jobs in that environment, simply using ProofHQ's editing, revision, and commenting tools while maintaining some of the dialogue, deadlines, and assignment work in Basecamp.
Likewise you can embed items that need to be proofed into your blog or site and have others leave their feedback. Like Scribd your document lives inside an embedded file viewer that runs in Adobe Flash, but when it comes time to propose edits, users can kick over to the full editor. Atkinson said he's already seen some great success with this in the private beta. It's been designed to make crowd-sourcing edits and suggestions a simpler process.
By default users can upload files one at a time. There's also a Java-based desktop applet you can simply drag files over to akin to Box.net's mass uploader. The only thing missing from ProofHQ is some of the real-time collaboration found on some other tools, most notably Octopz. There's no live video conferencing or text chat, although any changes get pushed out to all the other viewers as they're made.
ProofHQ has four different plans, three of them requiring a monthly fee. Each plan includes a certain number of allotted proofs per month (kind of like minutes on your cell phone plan), along with additional amounts of storage for uploaded files. If you want to give it a spin, the free plan will cap you off at five proofs per month, though your colleagues can make infinite revisions.