• United States
Neal Weinberg
Contributing writer, Foundry

Groove Networks’ Groove Client 2.5

Aug 12, 20033 mins
Collaboration SoftwareEnterprise ApplicationsSmall and Medium Business

* The Reviewmeister checks out Groove's collaboration tools

The Reviewmeister is a big proponent of collaboration tools, especially if they allow me to avoid lengthy airplane trips. So, we looked into several collaborative workspaces.

First off, we checked out Groove Networks’ Groove Client 2.5. Groove Enterprise Server was relatively easy to install. But in addition to installing it on a Windows 2000 Server, you need to install Microsoft  SQL Server 2000. As long as the SQL server permissions are set up correctly, Groove Enterprise Server will install with minimum effort. Our only hitch was understanding some of the options presented, most notably the wording of certificate authority settings.

Groove lets users create new workspaces and invite whomever they feel is appropriate to join. The roles of manager, participant or guest can be assigned to the invitees. Groove workspaces contain a default set of tools, such as discussion boards and file transfer areas, which then can be customized to fit the purpose of the workspace.

Groove’s client is a run-time application that also integrates smoothly with Outlook, but must be installed on all team members’ systems. In contrast to the Web-based systems, Groove Workspace relies on the client application, which is only compatible with Windows-based systems.

We thought Groove did an excellent job of tracking the presence states of team members. For example, it was clear when someone was online in a Groove location, but not in the same “room.”

Voting and polling are important to get consensus from team members. Groove’s client doesn’t support voting/polling within the application out of the box. However, you can create this through Groove’s custom-built tools or a third-party voting tool, Flexivote, developed by CompuTact Software Services ( Flexivote is fairly limited and does not integrate with other tools.

Keeping track of your files, whether they are documents, diagrams or slide presentations, can be a headache with e-mail – this issue is handled very well by the collaborative spaces. Groove’s client-centric model (all files are replicated by the client on team member hard drives) is well designed for mobile workers with lots of storage space on their notebooks.

Groove supports co-editing documents, as well as synchronized navigation (the ability for the host of a space to have all participants in a meeting or project space see the host’s screen in real time on their screens).

Groove includes text-messaging support, has a strong meeting agenda feature, user management tools, and the ability to “co-edit” files or browse URLs simultaneously with your team. Groove also adds some voice functionality. With the press of a button, your team can chat together as if they were on a speakerphone, although sound quality isn’t quite as good, and latency is more noticeable than on a regular audio conference call.

For the full report, go to .