If you've ever tried a service like Campfire for online conferencing and collaboration, you know how incredibly handy it can be. File-sharing service Drop.io recently rolled out its own Web-based group-chat tool: Conference.io.
Right off the bat, Conference.io has two big points in its favor: It's free (unlike Campire), and it offers simultaneous conference calling for those who like their Web chats with a side of voice. But wait, there's more.
When you visit Conference.io, you'll notice that it's virtually identical to Drop.io: Just enter a name for your conference ("bizhackschat," for example), which in turn becomes a custom URL you use to invite others.
Click create drop and you land in a chat room with other invited guests. From there you can add files, notes, and links. Each drop also has its own e-mail address; messages sent to that address appear immediately in the chat window.
Cooler still, Conference.io supplies a pair of phone numbers: one for conference calling, another for voicemail. Calls to the latter get converted to MP3s, which are in turn added to the conference's "assets."
It's hard to believe you can do all this for free, but there you go. Alas, I did encounter a few bugs, most notably chunks of the chat seeming to disappear after switching to different views. Plus, the service doesn't seem to keep a transcript of your chats -- kind of a major oversight.
Even so, I definitely recommend taking a look. Conference.io is yet another killer addition to Drop.io, arguably the Web's best file-sharing service. [via Download Squad]