Freeware alternative to Microsoft Office Groove

by ron on February 6, 2008

Microsoft Office Groove is a one of the programs from the Office suite that not many people know about.

Groove is a useful application that allows you to create a workspace for collaborating with other team members.

The thing that differentiates Groove from other online project management solutions (which I’ll blog about in the near future), is that instead of hosting the workspace on a web site, Groove stores the workspace content on your local workstation and then replicates that workspace content to the workstations of the other workspace team members. This is known as peer-to-peer technology.

You can download a free trial of Microsoft Office Groove and have a play with it, but if you decide that you want to use it, then you’ll have to whip out that credit card and say goodbye to $229 if you buy it from the Microsoft web site, or $189 if you buy it from Amazon.

I recently came across a freeware alternative which works with the same peer-to-peer replication model, allows you to create unlimited workspaces, create notes, discussions, links, tasks, and add attachments. It also allows you to do basic instant messaging between other workspace members who are currently online.


The product is called Callanos Workspace, and is worth taking a look at for the creation of simple collaboration workspaces.

Here’s a link to a visual tour of the product.


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Franco Dal Molin February 12, 2008 at 6:44 am

Please note that an updated version (1.3) of Collanos Workplace is going to be released in about 10 days from now. It will contain great new features and tons of improvements, like full “fetch from any” replication algorithm (=much improved sync experience!), a brand new persistent messenger, All My Tasks overview with filters, and more. We look forward to your tests and hopefully an updated Blog post. 🙂 Thanks.


Bryan Campbell August 10, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Thanks for sharing some details on this product. I’ve been using Groove and I think it’s probably the best collaboration tool currently available. The peer-to-peer aspect makes it incredibly enabling (no hosting fees, no server setup). However, the lack of integration into Microsoft’s own products coupled with only partially implemented features (like file versioning) is quite frustrating. I’d REALLY like to see integration with Twitter or Pownce as well. Microsoft doesn’t seem to be doing much with Groove these days either but they really uncovered an incredible solution when they purchased it from Ray Ozzie.

I’ll take a look at this alternative and see how it compares.


Craig February 2, 2009 at 3:12 am

Just thought I’d give my feedback on Collanos workspaces..

Having worked as a consultant advising on many Enterprise level collaboration systems I was looking to see what other free services were available. I came upon Collanos Workplace and installed it to establish a European working group.

Features: Very good
Usability: Very good
Reliability: Hit and miss

The added advantage of a Microsoft Groove type set-up are advantageous but I have to say that it is often hit and miss when it comes to updating files and conversations via the system. Often a message is received telling users that the conversation cannot be updated at this time. I guess the use of a shared server with 25,000 users has its disadvantages. Collanos phone does not seem to be a as-yet-completed product but is bundled with the software. I would advise not installing this part of the software until further development resolves the nightmarish port configuration that is often associated with this type of synchronous communication and it really is much simpler to use existing synchronous systems (Skype, msn) in parallel with this.

Compared to other Enterprise products on the market (Newsgator,Saba Collaboration, SharePoint & Groove) Collanos stands up well and provides the standard features however it is my opinion that further development of this product is needed to iron out the bugs within the software (E.g. when closing the application – keeping it closed and it not mysteriously opening again!, not being able to re-configure the data storage location)

If you are looking at a collaboration system for private use, this is the one – It’s free, feature packed and generally it works if you don’t push it too far. If you want something a bit more robust you will need to put your hand in your corporate pocket and investigate BTF (behind the firewall) server options/dedicated server to ensure faster traffic between peers (not sure if this available from the vendor).

To conclude:

It’s free, it works (sometimes) and it’s an ideal starter package for anyone new to online collaboration.

Enjoy 🙂


EvilBunny February 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Great hit, Thanks!



Tom S March 20, 2009 at 5:11 pm

There appears to be another new one, called Tonido Workspac. Anyone used it? How does it compare with Collanos?


Swapna April 23, 2009 at 12:16 am


Collaber is a collaboration tool similar to Microsoft Groove. It allows user to create workspace and share among other users. There are many tools like files tool to share files, task tools to manage tasks, Discussion and polls tool to discuss matters and so on. Collaber have different packages to meet the requirement of different user groups, which includes one free plan as well.

The features that proves Collaber is better than other similar products are:

1. Compatible with all platforms(Linux, Windows, Mac and Web). This gives user the flexibility of accessing their data anywhere.
2. Price at just 10% of that of similar products available in market.
3. Backup tool, it is similar to restore point in windows xp.
4. Works in offline mode, you can work even when you are offline and all your changes will be shared among your team members when you will be connected to server.

Try it now for free



Gireesh November 28, 2011 at 8:32 am

I downloaded it and created many profile but never got an activation code on my email..i am upset


idalis October 26, 2012 at 9:30 am

will i gotta say it kinda sucks because we can not get on it


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