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Groove Announcement
24 October 2000

I attended Groove Networks' first product announcement event in New York City. Here are some pictures and a report about what it was like:

I took an early morning shuttle flight from Boston, arriving with lots of time. As the taxi drove from the airport to the event downtown, we passed Shea Stadium where the World Series would restart in the evening, then went through the tunnel:

 

When I got there, they were still setting up:

 

I spent time talking to Groove people, learning more about the product, and talking to Ray Ozzie and his family. At 10 AM they started letting the press and other guests in:


Sometime after 10:30 am, after a few talking-head videos of Esther Dyson, etc., about Peer-to-Peer, Ray took to the stage. He spent quite a while explaining why he did this product and what it is for. If you read some of the interviews with him online you'll learn a lot of what he covered:

 

We all listened:


He explained about Servers vs. Peer-to-Peer:

 

Then it was time for a demo (looks like he's conducting an orchestra, doesn't it?):

 

Here he's showing two Groove sessions playing a game together:


Other Groove employees presented, showing how the product could be used and easily integrated with other applications, like this CAD/CAM viewing program:


Then some of their VAR partners spoke. This was important to Groove to show that there were other companies that were building upon their platform, but it got boring for many in the audience. I tried taking pictures in the dark. Here's Dave Winer several seats over across the aisle and a view to the rear:

 

Then, to end the formal part, they had some video endorsements. Andy Grove of Intel (which invested in Groove) likes Peer-to-Peer, and Bill Gates did his best to say nice things and tie it to .NET (the Microsoft endorsement means a lot to them -- I understand Gates really likes the product):

 

After that it was time for Q&A. Amy Wohl and Barb Darrow (CRN) ask some of the first questions, Dave Winer (Scripting News) asked a later one:

   

Ray and his Exec VP of Marketing and Sales, Michael Matthews, answered them:


Some other people I saw included Sheldon Laube (Centerbeam, and who purchased the first major license to Notes when he was at Price Waterhouse), Steven Levy (Newsweek), and Mitch Kapor (Lotus, and a Groove investor/board member):

 

The listening part was over. People went over for demos, interviews, and lunch:

 

 

I went over to the station devoted to how to make additional tools for Groove. They were demonstrating an ActiveX control that was easily turned into a Groove tool. Here you see the control working, as well as some of the Javascript code to run the user interface and connect it to the Groove properties store to automatically become shareable. You can also see the combination of XML and Javascript that makes up the definition:

 

 

That was it. They started taking things apart and I took a taxi back to the airport.


For more information about Groove, see their web site, as well as the other articles being written, such as Steve Gillmor's interview for XML Magazine, and Jon Udell's interview on O'Reilly Network. Dan Gillmor and Dave Winer also have material.

Groove has a video of the launch event on their web site that you can watch.

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