Microsoft Groove 2007 is Office's new collaboration tool. It's taken Microsoft a while to integrate it with Office and Windows, but the result is worth the wait. Shared workspaces connect teams together, wherever they are.

The brainchild of Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie, Groove is designed to share files and folders across a team, keeping a local cache of all the files and letting you work offline.

You can share any file or folder on your PC, or in a SharePoint server - making it an ideal tool for taking critical network files with you on the road. Built-in version control tools mean that more than one person can work with a file at the same time.

Early betas removed Groove's integral IM client in favour of the Office Communicator, but it has returned for the final release. Communication is key to effective collaboration, and informal chats work alongside Groove's more formal discussion groups.

You don't need a server for Groove, because it's a peer-to-peer platform. If you need to improve security or manage a large number of users then you'll find Groove Server 2007 a useful tool. Use the Server Manager to control users, and the Server Relay to cross any firewalls.