Wednesday, October 25, 2000
after Bill Gates' Windows and Jim Clark's Netscape, computing "discoveries"
began to be called "revolutions." Instead of trying to make office work easier,
the battle-cry of the latest cyber-advances-such as Linus Torvalds' Linux and
Shawn Fanning's Napster -- was to free the average user from corporate control.
And now Ray Ozzie, the esteemed founder of Lotus Notes, has
emerged from three years of secretive software development, ready to take to the
streets with a slingshot in his hand. Yes, that's the same Lotus Notes that's
now used by 60 million office workers worldwide. What could Ozzie possibly do
that's so rebellious?
The answer is Groove, the software platform announced yesterday
for hosting peer-to-peer communications among individuals via the Internet,
without the need for a central server. It taps into the same technology used by
"edge-based" searching and file-transfer tools like Napster and Gnutella. Since
users tap their own computing power to search their friends' files directly,
they can access much information that's beyond the reach of centralized,
Web-based search engines. And users can store the information they view on their
own servers, gaining more power over it than a fleeting glimpse at a website.
Ozzie's Groove Networks Inc. (Beverly, MA, www.groovenetworks.com) is pitching the
application as one leg of a future triad of Web-based communication -- e-mail,
browser, and Groove. To jump-start its widespread use, they've enlisted
development partners with big names, including Microsoft, Parametric Technology
Corp., and Intel, who pledge to soon release communication and collaboration
packages based on the new standard.