Groove Networks Inc. is making its peer-to-peer file sharing technology more welcoming to users of software from IBMs Lotus division and Microsoft Corp.
Groove last week made available Version 2.1 of its Groove Workspace, which adds support for Lotus Notes. The Beverly, Mass., company also introduced Groove Toolkit for Visual Studio .Net, which enables developers to create collaborative applications for Groove Workspace without leaving Microsofts Visual Studio .Net environment.
Although Groove was founded by the developer of Lotus Notes, Ray Ozzie, the companys technology is just now adding support for Notes. Groove Workspace has long supported Microsofts Outlook e-mail software. With Version 2.1 of Groove Workspace, a Notes user can call up a wizard to create a Groove shared space that pulls in information from Notes e-mail or other Lotus Domino databases.
It also sends e-mail invitations to others to participate in the shared work space. Groove Workspace can pull in threaded discussions and attachments, officials said.
Although Lotus support was longer in coming, it is more extensive. A shared space with Notes can include multiple e-mail messages, but because of the way Microsoft exposes its APIs, a Groove shared space started from Outlook can begin only with a single e-mail message, Groove said.
Groove Workspace 2.1 includes enhanced support for instant messaging and for Microsoft Word and PowerPoint applications.
The new tool kit lets developers write programs in familiar languages, such as Visual Basic .Net and Visual C# .Net. Users need to have had installed Groove Workspace 2.1 and Visual Studio .Net.
Analyst David Marshak of Patricia Seybold Group Inc. said the new Notes integration in Groove Workspace 2.1 is important but will more likely be used for creating collaborative teams among companies than in a single corporation.
"I can see people using Groove for communicating with teams and projects across corporate boundaries," said Marshak, in Boston. "In one sense, providing integration with Microsoft software is more important [because] the Microsoft collaboration products have much greater weaknesses that Groove can solve."
The Groove developers kit for Visual Basic .Net allows Groove to work more easily in Microsofts development environment.
"The predominant view is they are going to live very much in the .Net world," Marshak said. "This removes an obstacle to buying Groove."