Grove IRC Shutting Down

by Scott Saad - September 16, 2012

Last night prior to turning in, I noticed the following tweet come through:

We are sad to announce that Grove will be shutting down October 13th.…

— Grove (@groveio) September 16, 2012

Grove is a hosted service that aims at helping teams communicate more effectively with their IRC based product, which includes a fancy web client. They did so by attempting to take the somewhat over complications that can come with traditional IRC networks.

I signed our team up when Grove first went to beta and shortly thereafter converted to paying customer. Prior to this we were using an internal IRC server where a VPN connection was required to connect to it. We needed our chats private and closed off to the rest of the public so a traditional IRC network like freenode was not an option. Plus, as our team became spread across the country, connecting to a VPN seemed kind of overkill.

As I started seeking out other options I heard about this up and coming service called Grove. I believe it crossed my eyes one day on twitter, though I cannot fully recall. It seemed like a perfect solution as it not only provided a simple web client to connect with, it also supported traditional IRC clients, a huge geek selling point. Another cool feature was a searchable log of all chat history. It seemed to be a match made in heaven.

At some point though the honeymoon phase started to fade out. As our team grew to embrace the service the stability of it started to dwindle. The system started to have all sorts of connectivity issues where minutes, sometimes hours, would go by where we could not use it.

Doing a little research on the company I knew it was a small team and it seemed, like many startups, that engineer(s) were the first line of support. Their response time was pretty good given the circumstances but as the stability continued to fade, so did my patience.

Eventually I started to look elsewhere and within a week made a choice to abandon Grove in favor of HipChat. For the most part it had the same selling features (minus the support for traditional IRC clients). We’ve yet to have any troubles with the service. It’s been solid.

Ultimately only the company knows why Grove is shutting down.

We love IRC for companies and had a great time working on Grove. However, our team has moved on to other projects and we’ve made the very difficult decision to shut down the Grove website and IRC service.

Shutting down a company with paying customers sucks. I have my hunches what lead to this but they are purely speculative. Regardless, it was a fun ride while it lasted and I wish the Grove team all the best on their future endeavors.

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I'm a software geek living and working in Boulder, Colorado. Follow me on Twitter; you'll dig my tweets if you're into that sort of thing.