Groove Networks releasing updated collaboration software

Groove Networks Inc. is set to release Version 2.1 of Groove Workspace, its desktop collaboration software.

The new version, which will ship next Monday, features stronger enterprise e-mail integration with IBM's Lotus Notes, as well as enhanced instant messaging capabilities, according to Groove spokesman Richard Eckel.

Beverly, Mass.-based Groove uses a peer-to-peer model that links computers without requiring servers and allows users to share information or work together on various projects.

The newest update allows users to exchange text sessions with instant messaging software, applications, voice and video in real time through various panes within one frame. The data is stored on each user's hard drive. Off-line users can download updated information from ongoing Groove sessions when they log on.

Groove currently offers integration with Microsoft Outlook. The new version will allow users to move information and collaborate from a Lotus Notes database or e-mail in-box into Groove's shared workspace, Eckel said.

The enhanced instant messaging capabilities, which enable users to communicate directly with one another in real time, will eliminate the need for stand-alone instant messaging applications, he said. Groove's Workspace instant messaging capability integrates with other shared information, applications and activities inside a Groove shared space, Eckel said.

Groove Workspace Professional Edition 2.1 will sell for $99 per user, while the enhanced Standard Edition will sell for $49 per user.

Eckel also said Groove plans to release a preview version of its Groove Toolkit for Microsoft Visual Studio .Net, which is designed to help users collaborate on team projects. Last October, Microsoft Corp. invested $51 million in Groove, and last month Groove said it was integrating Workspace with Microsoft's SharePoint Team Services (see story).

Rob Batchelder, an analyst at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn., said Groove is continuing to tweak its product to make it easier for companies to tightly integrate its collaborative technology into their operations.

Copyright © 2002 IDG Communications, Inc.

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