Separately, Groove will offer a toolkit for developing collaborative applications using Microsoft's Visual Studio.Net.
Groove's software helpspeer-to-peer networks--a way of linking computers together without the need of servers--to share data or work on projects that need to harness, for example, the power of a number of computers.
Groovethe second major version of its software in April. Like earlier versions, Grove Workspace 2.1 will sell for $49 in a standard edition and $99 as a professional package.
Lotus Notes integration is as much a symbolic gesture as expansion of Groove Workspace's capabilities. Lotus Notes creator Ray Ozzie founded Groove in October 1997. Three years later, Groovethe first version of its desktop software that enabled people to collaborate over the Internet.
Groove already offers integration with Microsoft Outlook. The new version lets users move and collaborate communications from an e-mail in-box or Lotus Notes database into Groove's shared workspace. The Groove upgrade works with Lotus Notes version 4.6 and above.
The enhanced instant messaging capabilities are designed to bring the communications technology into the collaborative process. The feature, which is supposed to eliminate the need for separate, stand-alone instant messenger software, integrates with other document and information sharing aspects of Groove 2.1.
Groove's enhanced instant messaging features come at a time when more and more corporations arethe technology an important part of their businesses.
The Groove Toolkit for Visual Studio.Net illuminates the tightening ties between the company and Microsoft. In October, Microsoft$51 million in the Beverly, Mass.-based company. In July, Groove said it would for Microsoft's SharePoint Team Services technology to its software later in the year.
Last month, in ato Microsoft's nearly 51,000 employees, senior executives touted Groove technology as the kind of peer-to-peer activity supported by the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. Microsoft issued a memo to warn employees against using other types of peer-to-peer networks for sharing copyrighted materials, such as digital music files.
The new toolkit, which requires Groove 2.1, is designed to create and test Groove applications within Visual Studio.Net. Microsoft's developer suite is one of the cornerstones in creating applications supporting the company'sWeb services strategy.
Groove cautioned developers that this release of the toolkit is a preview version that should only be used for pilot projects.