Novell Pulse Launches with Google Wave Support for Real-Time Collaboration

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-11-04

Novell Nov. 4 launched Pulse, a real-time collaboration platform designed from its inception to let its users communicate with Google Wave users in a secure environment.

Pulse is basically Google Wave, but tailored for enterprises and available behind the firewall or on the Web as a cloud computing platform. Similar to Wave, Pulse includes instant messaging, live document authoring and editing, and social networking integration.

Pulse monitors users, alerting workers when their colleagues are available. Users can then contact them via instant messaging. Pulse users can also filter people and topics to follow and store files along with their related groups and conversations.

Users can co-browse and co-edit online and office documents from Microsoft Office, Adobe PDF and OpenOffice; share them; and comment on traditional office documents in real time. The Pulse inbox allows users to see, sort and filter all their content from various social messaging services, e-mail and Google Wave.

Here is where it gets exciting. A Pulse user can create a document, edit it and send it to a Google Wave user, who can also edit the document while a Pulse user is editing it.

But unlike Wave, which is in a gradual rollout to consumers and businesses, Pulse is already fitted with the security, management and compliance capabilities required by businesses, Ken Muir, chief technology and strategy officer for Novell's WorkGroup, told eWEEK.

Specifically, Pulse includes provisioning, sign-on and permissions that bridge to enterprise identity and access management systems, directory servers, and audit tools. The idea is to keep both safe and in compliance with federal regulations.

Novell used the Google Wave Federation Protocol Google rolled out to create a Wave server that allows Pulse users to communicate in real time with users on any other Wave provider. Novell executives showed how Pulse communicates with Wave at the Enterprise 2.0 show in San Francisco Nov. 4.

"By implementing their protocol, we bring in the OpenSocial widgets and these robots and this ecosystem of third-party developers," Muir said, adding that he views the Google Wave Federation Protocol as a modern implementation of SMTP, the Internet standard for enabling e-mail to traverse the Web and be accepted by various e-mail servers.

Muir said that even as Google unveiled the Google Wave platform at its I/O event last May, Novell was quietly working on its own real-time collaboration platform, called Project Cockpit. Realizing that Google and Novell were hurtling along parallel paths, Novell contacted the Google Wave team about creating some interoperability between the platforms. Cockpit evolved into Pulse.

Novell expects Pulse to complement its existing GroupWise collaboration software, not replace it, echoing Google's view of the relationship between Wave and Google Apps.

The Pulse launch with Google Wave support is symbiotic. Novell has a fine track record with enterprises, particularly when it comes to security and management support. Pulse will give Google Wave some exposure to enterprises looking to put real-time collaboration in front of their partners.

On the flip side, Wave is responsible for driving the real-time collaboration buzz that is capturing the collaboration market. This has spurred companies such as EtherPad, ZenBe, PBworks and Watchitoo to put forth their real-time collaboration offerings.   

Novell will release a beta in early 2010, but the platform won't be available to purchase until the first half of 2010.

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