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Backpack adds Journal functionality for teams

Backpack JournalFans of 37signal's online task management and information gathering tool Backpack will be excited to hear about the tool's latest addition, a Journal page.

Backpack recently underwent a major update that moved the tool from a single-user focus to a tool intended to allow teams that are working together to keep information organized. The new Journal function continues the tool's move to more of a team focus, which is both exciting and a little frustrating. While none of the functionality that makes Backpack a good tool for individuals has been lost, it's disappointing to see 37signals lose their focus with respect to Backpack. Considering they already have three team-focused products (Basecamp, Highrise, and Campfire) it would have been nice for Backpack to have remained focused on individual productivity.

Opinion aside, the new Journal functionality allows teams to keep tabs on what each other are up to. There are two main elements. The first is the current status field, which can be thought of much like a private Twitter or Facebook status update. You use this field to tell everyone what you are currently doing. The second field allows you to enter what you have just completed, and these items are logged. This allows you to see what your team members are currently busy with, and what they have recently accomplished.

It seems to us that this might seem a little too much like big brother looking over your shoulder, but on the other hand almost all jobs require some sort of accounting for your time. Is this a feature you could see yourself using? Why or why not?

If you're still not quite sure what to make of this, a video demonstration of the new Journal page is available.

Tags: 37signals, Backpack, commercial, freeware, Journal