In January 2004 Grouper Networks, Inc., was founded in San Francisco, by Josh Felser, Aviv Eyal, Dave Samuel and Mike Sitrin. The company was created to create a new way to share personal media files on the internet using p2p networking technology. Grouper was released as a desktop application for the Windows platform in May 2005. The application allowed users to create groups for their friends and family members and share personal files such as photos, videos and documents with their groups. Grouper used p2p technology to create trusted social network of friends and to enable sharing of an unlimited number of files in small groups.
Grouper was one of the first major Internet-enabled desktop applications that was developed using the .NET platform. It was written in the C# language.
In 2005, Grouper changed its strategy to focus on a web-based application for user generated video sharing. Grouper experienced growth as Internet user generated video became very popular throughout 2005 and 2006.
Grouper was one of the first Internet video sharing sites to embrace the media rss format to syndicate its video content to Internet video search engines and other sites and to offer mobile video players downloads.
In August 2006, SPE acquired Grouper Networks, Inc., under the terms of the $65 million deal.
Under Sony, Grouper released a screensaver that allows watching of Internet video on Sony Vaio computers, developed a service that allows for direct video downloads to the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and a service that allows watching of Internet video on Internet-enabled Sony BRAVIA TVs. Grouper also provides sharing software for Sony net-sharing camera Sony NSC-GC1. Camera owners can share video online using PC software that is built into the camera flash memory. The software starts when the camera is connected to the PC via USB.
In July 2007, SPE announced that Grouper would be re-branded and re-purposed as Crackle, a multi-platform video entertainment network and studio.