Looking for some good, free collaboration software

I’m looking for some freeware that will let me collaborate with a few people around the world both off-line and real-time. Any suggestions? Can I do this with something simple like Google Groups? I want to be able to restrict access, share files and host some live chat sessions. Text chat is fine, but if there is something that handles voice, too, that would be great.

Thanks in advance for any help.

I would also check out Google Sites

http://www.google.com/sites/help/intl/en/overview.html

It doesn’t look like that tool has a real-time chat function. Or did I miss that?

Well, Google has GoogleTalk, a chat application. You might be able to creatively work that in to the site. You could put up a page explaining how to download the app and what users’ names are, and then post announcements as to when group chats will be scheduled.

While I’ve never used it myself, I’ve heard good things about Backpack. I believe it’s free for individual use, so you can try it and see if you like it. Pretty much like Google or Yahoo’s services, if you want more than the basic services you have to pay a bit. Their pricing and policies look pretty decent for this type of thing. The pricing isn’t per-user, it’s a flat fee for up to that level of use, and you can try it for 30 days for free.

That looks good. Thanks!