Groove, SharePoint or OCS Group Chat – which works for you?

Earlier today I was in an interesting session at the Microsoft UK user groups community day when Art Ho gave a presentation on group chat and discussion forums. What became apparent in Art’s presentation is that Microsoft has a number of products which, on the face of it, offer similar features and functionality, but each has its own strengths and weaknesses:

Groove Discussions SharePoint Discussions Groove Chat OCS Group Chat*
Persistent Yes Yes Yes Yes
Federation Yes Yes Yes Yes
Integrated Sort of Yes No no
Search Yes Yes (strong) No Yes
Realtime No No Yes Yes
Collaborative Yes Yes No No
Offline Yes No Yes No

* OCS Group Chat is still a beta product at this time and was formerly Parlano MindAlign (Parlano were acquired by Microsoft last year)

Basically, it breaks down like this. Think about the purpose of the collaboration and what end users need. Do they need search? If so, then SharePoint is the clear leader. Are you looking for one product, or can a mixture of products meet the requirements (e.g. collaborate using a Groove workspace and publish the final document to a SharePoint document library)? Finally, you can have real-time or collaborative working, but it seems you can’t have both (at least with this technology selection).

(Note that other solutions are available, this just compares three Microsoft products that all seem to compete in the same space.)

Ozzie’s Groove is snapped up by Microsoft

In my recent post which discussed the perils of blogging I linked to Ray Ozzie’s Weblog . This week, I was interested to read that Ray Ozzie was actually the creator of Lotus Notes and that his company, Groove Networks is to be acquired by Microsoft (who have long since been investors in the firm) and integrated into Microsoft’s Information Worker unit.

The Windows IT Pro magazine network WinInfo Daily Update reports that the peer-to-peer and authentication technologies from Groove’s collaboration products will be integrated into the next generation of Windows, (codenamed Longhorn).

As for Ray Ozzie, he will become one of Microsoft’s chief technology officers, reporting directly to Bill Gates.