Groove adds integration with Lotus Notes

Groove Networks next week will add to its recent string of integration announcements this time joining up with Lotus Notes, another brainchild of Groove founder Ray Ozzie.

On Monday, Groove will release Version 2.1 of Groove Workspace, which features integration with the Notes client. The move follows recent and similar integration efforts with Microsoft Office and Outlook and Microsoft SharePoint Team Services. Groove also unveiled a tool kit that integrates with Visual Studio.Net.

"Groove has evolved into an enterprise platform," says David Marshak, an analyst with the Patricia Seybold Group. "It now involves a tool set, a management server to integrate it into [Lightweight Directory Access Protocol] directories and now this application integration."

In Version 2.1, Notes users can create a Groove shared space from within an e-mail message. The functionality is nearly identical to what Groove provided earlier this year for Microsoft Outlook users.

But the Notes integration goes a step further in allowing users to select multiple e-mails and their attachments and copy them all into a shared space. Users also can add Groove discussion and file management tools. When the space is created, every user listed on the e-mail thread is sent an invitation to join the shared space.

And the structure of Notes, which is a series of databases, supports creating a shared space from any Notes database.

Groove also has added support for Notes document links, which allows hyperlinks to Notes content to be pasted into any Groove tool that supports rich text, including instant messaging.

"We know that no ones starts from Ground Zero, so this integration is our recognition that people are using other products," says Donna Carvalho, senior product manager for Groove. "We don't want to replace e-mail, we want to extend it. Applications like Office are a natural integration point instead of making Groove a whole separate application. Groove is a platform, we've always said that."

The company also is beefing up its document review tool with a feature that opens Microsoft Word in revision tracking mode when it is launched within Groove, and a merge button that automatically collects all the revisions and combines them into a single document.

Groove also will unveil a preview release of the Groove Toolkit for Microsoft Visual Studio .Net, which allows developers to create and test Groove applications from within the Microsoft development tool.

In addition, Symbiant Group will introduce a video sharing application that works within Groove called MediaTeam 1.1. The software, which users Windows Media Player 7.1, lets multiple users view the save audio and video content while sharing a single set of controls for playback.

Groove 2.1 is available Monday and is priced at US$99 for the professional version and $49 for the standard version.

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