RealTime IT News

Groove's Double Play

Groove Networks, a Beverly, Mass., maker of desktop collaboration software, has shipped a new version of its Workspace product featuring integration with Lotus Notes and enhanced instant messaging (IM) capabilities.

Workspace 2.1 provides flexible collaboration tools, a secure environment, automatic change notifications, real-time online and mobile offline use, and synchronization with company firewalls.

The offering, priced at $99, is already configured for use with Microsoft's Outlook application, which like Lotus Notes combines e-mail with scheduling and other business tools.

"Although e-mail is a great place to start conversations, it's increasingly difficult to carry on productive work in our overloaded InBoxes," said Ray Ozzie, CEO of Groove Networks. "Messages often get misplaced, for example, among responses from people who much too casually press the 'Reply to All' button."

With Workspace 2.1, users can move multi-person discussions and interactions from e-mail inboxes -- or any Lotus Notes database -- to secure Groove shared spaces.

With a click, a Lotus Notes wizard automatically creates a Groove shared space from selected Notes e-mails or documents, transferring all relevant text and files, and inviting all relevant people.

The integration of Lotus Notes was likely not difficult for Groove, seeing how Ozzie created the groupware for Lotus, the Cambridge, Mass., division of IBM.

As for IM features, Workspace 2.1 enhancements include: message forwarding, optional reply message history, improved message addressing, and "rich text," enabling use of varying typefaces, font sizes and colors.

In other Groove news, the company announced the design preview version of its Groove Toolkit for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, making it easier for developers to create collaborative applications in the environment.

"The (toolkit) is going to be an extremely important tool for .NET developers who can now build truly collaborative applications in the same time it takes them to build any WinForms application today," said Sam Gentile, a .NET development expert who helped Groove Networks create its toolkit.

More information about Workspace 2.1 and the Toolkit for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET, is available through Groove's Web site.

Groove was founded in 1997 by Ozzie and has attracted significant interest from venture capitalists as well as corporate investors such as Microsoft. Ozzie was recently honored by the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council with a lifetime achievement award for Lotus Notes and Groove.