February 4, 2003 3:00 AM PST
Groove adds Web services links
Founded by collaboration software guru and Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie, Beverly-Mass.-based Groove Networks sells software that helps create peer-to-peer networks--a way of linking computers, often without the need of servers--to share data or work on projects that need to harness the power of a number of computers.
Groove's software displays a "workspace," or a single application that allows people to see whether a colleague is online, communicate via instant messenger or discussion boards, and track updates to shared documents and projects.
With version 2.5, Groove is linking its workspaces with Microsoft's Share Point Team Services and Outlook messaging program. This will allow a group of workers to take information, such as a task list or calendar entry, and import it into a Groove workspace.
With the product integration, businesses can treat Groove as an extension to their Microsoft portal or messaging software, Groove representatives said. For example, Groove software is designed to work across company security firewalls, making it more appropriate for inter-company projects, according to Groove.
Groove's ties with Microsoft were tightened after the software giant invested $51 million in Groove in 2001.
Also on Tuesday, Groove took the first steps toward Web services support. Web services describes a set of standards and programming method for linking applications using XML.
The company's initial foray into Web services will allow businesses to run the Groove application on devices other than a Windows PC, like a handheld computer. The Web services interfaces will also make it easier for programmers who are not highly skilled to use Groove's tools.
Software providers can also embed a subset of the Groove application's capabilities within another application, according to company representatives. Software maker PTC, for example, has already begun a process of incorporating the collaborative tools from Groove into its collaborative design engineering software.
The first subset of Groove capabilities to gain Web services interfaces are for shared files, discussion boards and calendars. The company also plans to introduce Web services versions of its chat, instant messenger and forms tools, according to Matt Pope, product manager for Groove Web services.