Groove Smooths Connections

Upgrade improves data routing, integration; Web services in works.

As Groove Networks Inc. bolsters its peer-to-peer collaboration software with nuts-and-bolts efficiency enhancements, the company is also looking to test the Web services waters.

Version 2.5 of Grooves namesake software, due next quarter, will add enhancements for decreasing bandwidth usage and improving integration with third-party software, said officials at Grooves headquarters here.

The Groove upgrade features more advanced network topology management, which determines which route across the network is the most efficient for Groove data packets, said founder and CEO Ray Ozzie. "Thats very important when you are on a dial-up line and need to send a lot of copies out," Ozzie said.

A new Asymmetric Files feature in Version 2.5 lets users set a trigger that alerts them whenever anyone adds a file to a Groove Shared Space but does not immediately place the file onto their computer. Normally, the file would be automatically sent to the computer of every person signed up to that Shared Space.

This feature also will be particularly useful for mobile clients.

"In large corporate environments, this is a great benefit to system administrators, as different users will have different needs, and the load they can put on the network can be massive," said Groove user Ashok Hingorani, CEO of Compu-Tact Software Services Ltd., of Bombay, India. "Any control will be welcomed."

Groove 2.5 will also feature an improved user interface in its integration with Microsoft Corp.s Outlook client.

Next quarter, Groove will begin beta testing what it is calling a Web Services Access Point. The client software exposes Groove data as an XML-based Web service. When an action is taken, the Access Point relays a Web service request to whatever other Groove client needs to be involved in the specified business process. If the other clients are not connected to the network, the Access Point holds the message until it is connected, thus maintaining a session.