The interface features an Explorer-like arrangement, which provides access to the Public Directory, Private Groups, files and Groovie, a movie-making tool. To connect with other members, you can send invitations to join your own private group, or browse for other groups and request invitations to join.
Once in a group, you'll have access to shared directories of each member, letting you download any type of file, except music. In order to keep on the good side of the recording industry, and thus avoiding the fate of Napster and Kazaa affair, Grouper only permits music to be streamed, and played back in the Grouper client. While you can get around it by simply ZIP up the music files, this could be a strong enough deterrent to prevent mass music swapping.
Like all the applications here, Grouper features strong security in the form of 256-bit AES. End-to-end encryption like this prevents anyone, even Grouper, from seeing the contents of data being passed back and forth. A unique of Grouper is Groovie, which is a simple movie-making tool that lets you set music and effects to a video clip. Finally, Grouper also features 'Glogs', or Grouper Blogs, which gives your profile a diary for other users to check out.
It's a neat app, particularly if you see yourself becoming involved in the Grouper community. The interface itself works well for Windows users, and you can throttle bandwidth and configure ports if needed. Unfortunately, if you're interested in sharing music, this isn't the tool for you.
This Review appeared in the April, 2006 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine