Novell is providing the first glimpse of Pulse, its new real-time collaboration service. The new service will eventually fully integrate with Google Wave. This version does not include Google Wave as part of its service. But there is an expectation that eventually the integration will serve as a federated platform that may serve as the basis for new open-source collaboration efforts.
Novell is releasing the service initially to analysts and participants at BrainShare, its user group meeting next week in Salt Lake City. Each person will get to invite one new user, Novell will provide a fuller release in the next few months. A release at the end of the year will include OpenID as a core aspect of the platform.
The service resembles platforms that we see emerging. It has a real-time activity stream. People may create their own groups within an activity stream. Groups may also be created with external communities such as partners or customers. Pulse will be available as a SaaS or on-premise.
The service includes a co-editing feature, much like you see in Google Wave.
Novell Pulse looks like a viable alternative for the companies and government organizations that want a platform they can modify without concern about proprietary constraints. Still, it is clear that Pulse is in its infancy with a host of features needing integration.
We question how many people may use the service simultaneously. Google Wave has received criticism for its inability to handle large numbers of simultaneous users. Novell says it will see how many people the platform can handle. Of note is that the beta is so limited. It will essentially only be open to a very limited subset of the market. Perhaps it will spread through invites. We'll see.
Its open-source roots make Pulse most compelling. The approach fits with the company's roots. Novell sees an opportunity to federate with Google. The larger question will come down to how well the integration works with Google Wave.