The sad state of Groove add-ons

Where have all the add-ons gone? Groove is an interesting tool. It came out of nowhere, powered by Ray Ozzie, and looked like Notes done right. And it was. The architecture was great, using it in small organizations was cool, and it was perfect for the road warrior sales guy to keep in touch with the mothership.

However it seems (to me anyways) that it’s a decaying piece of wood that nobody seems to care about. Version 3.1 is pretty good and it’s been added to the Office 2007 lineup, so MS must think this thing is going places (or the fact that Ray is going to be #1 at Microsoft). Today we was cleaning up a Groove workspace we use for little things (todo lists, wish lists of things we want to buy, places we want to go, family pics, etc.) and wanted more. I hadn’t checked for a long time (probably 6 months or so) and figured there must be new add-ons that would be neat to get.

What a sad state of affairs. First, the tools page hasn’t really changed much in the last year. Second, there’s only a couple of vendors offering very little. What’s worse, a few of them have websites that don’t even work. Information Patterns for example only has 3 products on the go and when you look at their Toucan Collaborate tool (a productivity suite) the link to their dedicated site takes you to a parked domain. There was an interesting tool which was an implementation of Reversi, but when you go to NetsenderCorp’s site and try to download or order it (or any of their products), you get a 404 error.

This certainly isn’t anything like say the DotNetNuke community where Snowcovered keeps pumping out modules every week. Modules that work and that you can download or buy. While many people argue Groove is stepping on SharePoints toes with it’s offline capability (people always call Groove the “offline” SharePoint), it’s still a pretty neat platform. It’s highly extensible, you can build .NET apps to plug into it, and it seems to have a lot of potential. Now it seems to be the red-headed step-child of Office and thrown in for good measure (maybe to try to revitalise the Groove community).

All in all, either I’m looking at the old world and there’s some hidden corner on the web where Groove is thriving and producing all kinds of new content, or Ray and the Groove guys figure they’ve maxed out their investment and the community that never was just isn’t.


  • I had the same feeling!!!
    The point is that in the past you were able to download sdk to build your own tools that plugs into Groove workspace, that first disappeared then the only extension possibility was through the web service sdk.

  • Thanks for pointing out the broken link.

  • Was it the sad state of Groove add-ons or the sad state of Groove itself? Though I don't have actual numbers, the Groove user base was maybe within a rounding error of the MS Office user base. You can debate whether Groove was conceived too early, or marketed too poorly or or sold too quickly.

    However, going forward Groove will be bundled with the most successful productivity suite of all time. Aug 2007 will look quite different for Groove than Aug 2006.

    The fact that Groove *does* have a web service SDK and a Forms generator means there will be developer interest. The fact that MS grouping it with two highly successful products (SharePoint and Project) means there will be marketing dollars.

    And the fact that you've got people like me examining the merits of collaboration systems means there will be new, innovative solutions.

    It's always 'what have you done for me lately?'

Comments have been disabled for this content.