I’ve been a long time fan of mind maps (the pencil and paper type) and have also occasionally used the excellent and free computer based FreeMind to good effect. Over the last year or so a number of online mind mapping tools have appeared and I see that one of the better ones, www.mindmeister.com, can now be used both online and offline thanks to the magic of Google Gears; I think this is the first non-Google implementation of Gears I’ve seen in the wild.
I’m using the free (up to six mind maps) version of MeidMeister but like other such services that require a monthly subscription for access to the unlimited premium edition I’m unlikely to bite. I’m afraid I’m spoiled by the free offerings of the likes of Google Apps and the pay-as-you-go offerings of Amazon Ec2/S3 so the idea of paying a fixed monthly charge for a ‘point-solution’ doesn’t appeal.
Perhaps their long term strategy is to be purchased by the likes of Google and indeed the product would fit in beautifully with existing Google Apps offerings right down to the wiki-like sharing facilities. Nevertheless, well worth checking out the free version and if sharing and collaborating of multiple mind maps is your thing (schools come to mind) then the €3.21 monthly charge is very reasonable. Or perhaps you could use their sponsoring facility to pay for a premium licence for your local school.