Google Wave Rival Novell Pulse Launching to Preview March 21

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-03-19

Novell plans to roll out its Pulse collaboration platform as a preview for all 3,000 attendees of its Novell Brainshare conference March 21, company officials told eWEEK.

Pulse, like Google Wave, lets users author and upload content, including documents, photos and videos, share them, and co-edit them in real-time. Users can grab office documents from Microsoft Office, Adobe PDF and OpenOffice and work on them in Pulse.

A feature called "document presence" sends an alert to users' inboxes to when their colleagues are visiting, editing or commenting on a document or message. Social capabilities allow users to share, follow and comment on topics and ideas, and the suggestion system allows users to recommend people and groups.

The Pulse inbox allows users to see, sort and filter all their content from various social messaging services, e-mail and even Google Wave. Pulse was built on the Google Wave Federation Protocol Google made available to open source.

To wit, Pulse let users create a document, edit it and send it to a Google Wave user. The Wave user can also edit the document while the Pulse user is editing it.

Google Wave, which has racked up more than 1 million users, was initially released for consumer adoption. Google executives have said the Wave team will roll the platform out to all businesses this year. 

Out of the gate, Novell Pulse is a serious enterprise platform, placing a greater emphasis on security and management settings than Wave. Pulse creators can control who works on a specific Pulse session, and control who gets to follow them, send e-mails and direct messages right down to the person, group or organization state.

"We include features that the business consumers want, but also the security and controls the enterprise demands," Ken Muir, CTO for Novell WorkGroup, told eWEEK.

Novell is also making gadgets available for this preview. Users will be able to embed gadgets into messages or profiles to liven Pulse sessions. For now, third-party gadgets include YouTube videos, Web pages, a survey tool, a whiteboard and a mini-spreadsheet.

While Pulse will be available to Brainshare attendees, other interested parties can register here to be notified when the preview is opened to a broader audience.

Moreover, Pulse will be generally available in the first half of 2010 in a cloud deployment, with an on-premise deployment coming in the future. Novell has not announced pricing for this platform.

Novell could use a positive reception from Pulse. The company's GroupWise platform is hanging in there as a legacy collaboration platform, but it's far behind Microsoft SharePoint and IBM Lotus Notes and is being displaced in some areas by newer platforms.

For example, the City of Los Angeles has replaced GroupWise with Google Apps in a high-profile customer win for Google.

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