Ozzie, Raymond; Groove: Groove Miscellaneous Infos 2001-02 2001.

THEMES: Ozzie, Raymond | Groove
YEAR: 2001
Login Login
User: Anonymous

LABEL: Browser
TIME: 2001
Wired Mag
Review: Intuitive App Lets Teams Collaborate Without Missing A Beat



The Gist: Intuitive App Lets Teams Collaborate Without
Missing A Beat

What's compelling about the reggae song
"Luv Me, Luv Me" from How Stella Got Her
Groove Back is its addictive beat. It does
just what a good groove should do: break
down people's inhibitions so they can
express themselves. I don't know if Lotus
Notes pioneer Ray Ozzie is a reggae fan,
but his latest software riff, Groove, should
lead to some great jam sessions.

Most "collaborative" apps I've tried are a
drain because they impose logic-based
procedures onto what should be an
intuitive experience. But the preview
version of Groove is a kick: You download
it for free at www.groove.net, sans IT
help, and you get a virtual space in which
to share ideas, comments, photos,
drawings, tools, files, and other
components. Idiot-proof voice
communication means you're not typing
constantly, and shared sketch capabilities
put everyone on the same drawing board.

I tried it out with several coworkers, getting them to operate in
a typical collaborative situation - a virtual project room,
complete with shared files, task list, outline, and calendar. We
prompted one another with voice commands, and when I
scrawled, "Can you see this?" on the drawing pad, a collaborator
in another city immediately scribbled back, "Yes!" Groove is
great for small and spontaneous project collaborations where
users don't care to spend the time or money on a heavy-duty
platform. And since it runs peer-to-peer rather than
client-server, no one has to administrate. The company behind
the tool, Groove Networks, hopes it will become as widely used
as a browser, supporting the ad hoc, organic process of
innovation. After distributing the basic version gratis, it plans to
sell add-ons and enterprise installations.

As promising as Groove looks, it needs some minor
improvements. The Start screen looks smart but can be
confusing - what's the difference between a Discussion and a
Conversation, and why do both appear outside a Project? The
voice communication feature is killer, but hearing your boss's
baritone jump out of your computer without warning might prove
unnerving; the current interface doesn't clearly show your
logon/logoff status. My group of users also had trouble
understanding how or where their work was saved, and worried
about security. If Groove can address these points and stick to
its vision, it should have no trouble filling its dance card.

- Christopher Ireland