Glassboard logo.pngSepia Labs is out with its Glassboard 2.0 for Android and iPhone devices. The app focuses on sharing among private groups, especially businesses, using Windows Azure-based services.  

The company describes itself as “like Facebook, but with the privacy of email and the immediacy of mobile.” Boards are created without administrators around a common interest, through which users can share microblogs, messages, comments, photos, videos, or, when appropriate, locations. Participants can include employees inside a company, as well as vendors outside, who communicate through the Web on a desktop, through a tablet, or through an Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone 7 smartphone.

Keeping It Private

Sepia Labs emphasizes Glassboard’s ready ability to share business material only with business colleagues -- or, if you like, to keep family secrets within a family. The company also points out that it does not mine data for advertising -- in fact, it doesn’t do advertising at all.

Version 2.0 includes a Web app for desktop access. And, for those who have friends and colleagues with BlackBerrys, the updated Glassboard allows them to join in discussions by replying to an email.

Documents can now be shared and discussed, simply by attaching a file to a message or comment. Another new feature avoids the need to find addresses and send out invitations to join a board. Instead, a board-specific code is generated, which can be distributed and, when entered, automatically brings the bearer to that private board.

There’s also a new user interface design that shows the user’s board list and other options in a left-hand sidebar, and there’s a gallery for photos and videos that have recently been posted.

Moving to ‘Freemium’ Model

Sepia Labs, maker of Glassboard, has said that its immediate goal is to grow the user base for Glassboard, and then move into a “freemium” model, where the base version remains free but users pay for additional “snazzy features.” Sepia Labs is led by former employees of NewsGator Technologies, and other products include Windows RSS reader FeedDemon and content aggregator Datawire.

In a posting on the company’s blog, Sepia Lab’s Jenny Blumberg notes that Glassboard “is most useful for small teams and businesses that would like a better way to collaborate than email,” adding that it’s also good for such uses as conferences and college courses.

Glassboard is one of a variety of new apps designed for small, ad hoc networks. Competitors include Path and Everyme. Blumberg wrote on the blog that Glassboard has the edge over others when privacy and discretion are priorities.