One new technology I was quick to jump on was Grouper, "an encrypted P2P network that integrates file sharing, instant messaging and multimedia streaming." Think of it as a legal version of what Napster tried to be. While few of my friends have responded to my invitations and subsequent explanations of what Grouper provides (which leads to reassurances that there is nothing illegal here), I have used it to move large files back and forth between systems, and shared my personal music collection with my close friends.
The spate of concerns over security are not as much of a threat with Grouper, because it is a closed network — only those you invite will have access to your designated files. Started by three former AOL executives, Grouper has plans to move from a free service for music and file sharing, to a collaboration application for small businesses and universities. The Register offers a nice 3rd party perspective.
From Ryan Naraine of eWeek:
During the stealth beta, Grouper is free and being marketed as a consumer application. But, in Felser’s mind, the application will evolve into a workplace collaboration tool for the SMB (small and medium-size business) segment.
"Think of it as a simplified collaboration tool similar to Groove," he said, referring to the high-end enterprise software sold by Groove Networks. "We’ve been approached by lots of companies who see this as an accessible way to connect and share larger files in an encrypted environment."
"Groove is complex and more of an app for larger enterprises. We’re aiming for the smaller workgroups," Felser added.
Grouper will also be marketed as a remote access tool for business use, much like the Go2MyPC utility sold by Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Citrix Online.