Etherpad??is a web service that provides a free simultaneous collaborative writing platform. Users who visit the same page can not only edit the text but can see other users editing text on the fly. It is very basic, without the features of most word processing applications, but it's all you need for writing some text with a group. This type of platform blurs the line between collaboration and communication.
If you haven't seen it already, you should take a minute and check it out at Etherpad.com.
As you'll see at that site, Google has acquired Etherpad and plans to integrate their technology into the similar but more robust??Google Wave. In the meantime however, to ease the transition from Etherpad, they have made the Etherpad code open source under an Apache licence.
Sure, wikis are great for long-term content and long term collaboration, but you need something like Etherpad for short term or instant collaboration, which is more likely the case when you're working with a group to write a document. With Wave coming down the pike (yes, it's pike, not pipe) it seems likely that eventually workplaces will integrate instant collaboration into their workflow. Open Source Etherpad is a great way to start using instant collaboration on the corporate intranet while we wait for Wave to mature.