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What's in store for the new Groove? Part 1

Groove is a peer-to-peer online collaboration platform that recently enjoyed considerable uptake in government, specifically at the Defense and Homeland Security departments. As Microsoft is wont to do, it bought the promising technology in 2005 and hired Groove Networks' founder Ray Ozzie as one of three Microsoft CTOs.

Last month, around the March anniversary of the Groove-Microsoft marriage, GCN caught up with Ozzie to see how the previous year had treated him. Always generous with his time and insights, the co-developer of Lotus Notes gave us more good stuff than we can possibly run in our pages. (Look for our interview with Ozzie in the April 24 edition of GCN and at GCN.com.)

Part of what ended up on the cutting room floor was Microsoft's roadmap for the next version of Groove, which the Redmond giant absorbed into its Office product group. Here is some of what Ozzie told us about Office Groove 2007:

GCN: What new capabilities/synergies can government users expect to see between Groove and existing Microsoft technologies. How will Groove work with things like SharePoint Services?

Ozzie: While the acquisition of Groove Networks by Microsoft occurred about a year ago, the reality is the Groove development team didn't have much time to integrate Groove into the Office 2007 beta process. Initial Office 2007 betas became available last fall. Nevertheless, the Groove engineering team did a tall job in short order.

There are many improvements to how the product can be deployed within large government organizations, and as a member of the Office 2007 family of programs, servers and services, Office Groove 2007 will be available in more than 25 languages. That's a huge accomplishment, since before we offered it only in U.S. English.

As a result of the short development cycle, the Groove engineering team focused on three key areas of integration with existing Microsoft technologies: Windows SharePoint Services, InfoPath and Communicator.

We had integration with WSS in Groove, but now in Office Groove 2007 we've shifted from the model of 'site replication' to 'list replication.' There's a new SharePoint Files Tool that lets a team bring a WSS folder or document library into Groove. The team can do its work in Groove, both on- and off-line, and then synchronize with the source document library.

This notion of center-edge coordination is particularly popular among government organizations who want to better support the work of teams on the battlefield, or in the field, but then want to ensure the learnings from the edge are shared and searchable by the rest of the organization.

See the rest of Ozzie's answer in a future GCN.com Tech Blog posting.

Posted by Brad Grimes

Posted by Brad Grimes, Joab Jackson on Apr 14, 2006 at 9:39 AM


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