Two issues ago we told you about Google's Desk Top Search, a technological leap forward when it comes to looking for files on your computer.

Now, here's a simple and inexpensive alternative to building and maintaining an office computer network.

"Share your files--no rocket science required" is one of the slogans for Groove's ( networking solutions. Groove's Virtual Office software allows teams to work together over a network as if they were in the same physical location. The company advertises Virtual Office as the fastest way to create a network for people who are geographically dispersed, work at different companies, occasionally work from home, or connect from a hotel, airport, or Internet cafi.

By contrast to the typical network solution, which can run well over $4,000 for a small office and exponentially more than that for a bigger organization (on top of which you have to budget for the cost of a skilled programmer to maintain it), you can get most of the desired network functionality from Groove at a flat fee ranging from $69.00 to $229.00, depending on the features you need.

The basic service allows you to share files, exchange instant messages and talk over the internet... which is most of what any small business would need.

Downloading the software and getting started is easy and hassle-free; a Groove workspace is set up in seconds without the need for secure servers or VPNs. You can also work offline; Virtual Office will synchronize all changes the next time you connect and alerts you to changes in documents other team members have made. It only sends the latest changes in a document, not the whole file, thereby optimizing network bandwidth; and it lets you know if your coworkers are currently online or offline. If you travel with a laptop or notebook, you can sync up with your office computer without having to buy another user license.

All in all, Groove is the ideal solution for businesses that either don't want to pay for an expensive--and often crash-prone--office network, or that work with outsourced employees that you would normally not grant network access. Tried and proven useful by the WWNK team.

Posted 12-13-2004 10:28 PM by Doug Casey
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