Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Online Collaboration At Its Best

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Dig Your Groove And Start Creating Your Own Virtual Real Estate Spaces

If I had to draw a similarity to another product to make you understand what Groove is and why it is such a revolutionary tool, YahooGroups (formerly eGroups) would come again immediately to mind.

If you are familiar with YahooGroups you know what a valuable communication, collaboration and publishing infrasatructure this free service has been for many of us.

YahooGroups, despite its highly questionable advertising strategy that places an impossible amount of ads on end users screens, has been able to devise a highly effective online collaboration facility which has initially found little to no competition along the way.

As I have pointed out in a previous article entitled Alternatives to YahooGroups, many of us would have been very willing to pay Yahoo to get access to an ad-free version of their service.

On YahooGroups you can upload and share files easily (though there is a max limit of 20 MB per "virtual space"), exchange messages as in a forum or threaded discussion list, chat, poll, work on a workgroup calendar, share links, create a photo archive and much more. At one time in the past, you could also talk live with your YahooGroup pals with a complementary tool that was integrated into the service.

At YahooGroup all of this comes for free. Price to pay is a bombardment of ads, banners, pop-under and other mischevious attempts at interrupting your standard working habits to suggest products and services you may even be against. So, outside of this pitiful marriage with too many ads, Yahoogroups is indeed an extremely valuable platform for collaboration for two reasons:

1) No barrier to entry. Free.

2) Provides useful, well selected and well-integrated-together tools.

That's a recipe for immediate success right there.

But, watch out.
//" target="blank">Groove Workspace .

As you probably know, I am not generally very prone to praise any product with too many adjectives and marketing-like buzzwords, but I must say that Groove Workspace, now updated to version 2.5 leaves me hard pressed to find appropriate words to describe the scope and innovation introduced by this very powerful collaboration tool.

There is nothing else like Groove.

For the ones of you that do not know Groove Workspace yet, this is a tool worth finding out about if you are serious about collaborating online with your teammates, suppliers, consultants, designers, etc.. What Groove does so fantastically well is what we crave and need the most. Extend our desktop, files, folders, eyes and ears to our teammates desk and merge and freely exchange what is in common between us to facilitate our common efforts toward a specific activitiy/project.

Groove creates a persistent collaboration space where you and your selected contacts can interact both in real-time and "asynchronously", while being able to effectively share documents, files, ideas, Web pages, and more. When I say "persistent" I mean a space that doesn't disappear the moment you exit from it.

A Groove Workspace is a piece of virtual real estate property that you buy access to. The virtual property Groove provides is very rich in terms of architecture and utilities infrastructure that are ready to be used. Best of all, the facilities are modular and can be activated only when deemed useful by you for your own estate goals.

While many web conferencing and live collaboration tools could be compared to convention centers, movie theaters , snack bars, and other short-stop buildings along our main way to some other place, Groove Workspace stands out as being a wonderful virtual ranch where you may want to go to work for a while, with your selected pals, of course .

The difference is dictated by the fact that what I do inside Groove "remains" there for others to see, use, edit and revise. But only those who I want to see it. If I keep chatting by myself after another glass of Chianti, you will see tomorrow what I wrote there. Of course we can clear it if we like, but unless we do so all that we contribute and share remains there for us to use.

Groove "virtual real estate" is an ideal place for collaboration activities, as it allows me to activate at the click of a button any number of useful facilities and tools to support and facilitate my project tasks. By accessing a well organized Groove "modules warehouse" I get to select among threaded discussion forums, project management tools, sketchpads, meeting management tools, co-browsing facilities and at least 20 more powerful components that I could mix and match in any combination I like, to perfectly landscape this virtual collaboration space of mine.

If I need to have a space where my team and I want to share and exchange files, I can add it. If I want to create an archive of images or illustrations that my team needs to refer to, I can add this as well. If I need to have an area where my friends and I can can go off to watch videos or to play collaborative games or puzzles at a distance, I can add this as well. As they say, "the possibilities are endless".

If I had to vouch for Groove Workspace software’s greatest feature, I would say "its concept".

Groove provides a whole new way of collaborating online, while providing the best ideas, features and facilities one could have ever hoped for.

This is the YahooGroup Premium version I had been looking for so long. It gives me all that I have now been spoiled to expect and more.

Groove adds voice, project management, co-surfing, PowerPoint presenting (and how effectively!), co-editing of Word documents, and a lot more.

And yes, no ads. With Groove Workspace, you bring together the people, information and tools you need to get your job done, or to have fun. I haven’t even touched upon Groove Workspace software’s security. Simply put: It provides user-immune security. Its 192-bit encryption is always on. No settings. Nothing to bother with. Yet everything you do in your Groove virtual real estate is completely secure, both on your hard drive, and what you send over the net to your colleagues or friends.

The price? When I first told my friend Massimo, he laughed. Then he said:"Somebody has finally understood what it takes to move YahooGroups off its throne.” He was right.

The fully-functional "Preview" version is yours free for 3-months. The "Standard" and "Professional" versions cost respectively $69 ($49 US until May 1st) and $ 189 ($ 149 US). This is a ONE-TIME cost and then you are done.

No other product I have reviewed - and I’ve reviewed more than 30 - can match the price/value of Groove Workspace. Do yourself a nice favor and check out Groove now. For what it costs you (nothing) you’re going to save yourself a lot of money, while having a great time at it.

Download your free Preview version right here.

Download a free 30+ pages review of Groove Workspace v2.5

Please see also:
Peer to Peer Online Collaboration Killer App

Robin Good's Official Guide to SOHO Web Conferencing and Live Presentation Tools.

Readers' Comments    
2003-06-10 21:05:21

Ed Morra

I have been dabbling with for collaboration. It has an international orientation and an interesting business model and philosophy behind it. It is funded by ancillary services that can be provided to users such as space backups, etc. This means it is free to end users and has no ads to distract your collaboration.

Robin, how do you think this compares in the group of thirty that you have reviewed?

- Ed -

2003-06-09 15:45:27



Have you ever looked at CommunityZero ( We are using it, but we are always looking for other cost effective environments.



2003-05-29 18:52:09


"One question: what has limited you the most in being able to release a full version 1.x?"

Money (for the service).


2003-05-29 15:30:00

Robin Good

Dear David,

thank you for your very interesting comment and for having pointed my interest to AdrenaMail. From what I have read on your Web site you do seem to have an interesting tool out there.

I have already downloaded it and I will be happy to test it tomorrow and to report how effective AdrenaMail really is.

One question: what has limited you the most in being able to release a full version 1.x?

Looking forward to learn more from you.

Understanding comes from exploration

2003-05-29 14:04:06


AdrenaMail was much befor Grooves. if you take a look at the early versions of Grooves it was totaly different.

Grooves has the money has the money to deliver the business. good for them.

But they didnt came up with the concept first. AdrenaMail Did

2003-04-30 14:40:59

Bill Vick

Groove is slick but very, very windows centric. Once they take a broader view of the desktop (Mac, Linux) I'll be a raving fan. for now I can't use my computer of choice with the product.

2003-04-25 05:51:07


Another collaboration product worth noting is B.efficient from neuSteps.

B.efficient, focus on ease-of-use and support for multiple platform (eg. windows, Mac OS and Linux).
It gives the best of both worlds; ease of use and affordability of a low end solution and the extendsibility and security of a high end system like Lotus.

posted by Robin Good on Thursday, April 17 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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