Salesforce.com has unveiled Chatter 2, the next version of its Facebook-like Chatter collaboration platform, with additional features such as filters and hashtags.
Salesforce.com has unveiled Chatter 2, the next version of
its Chatter collaboration platform, which allows employees to post comments and
share files in a Facebook-style environment. The rise of Chatter and similar
applications has mirrored businesses' increased interest in social networking
as a productivity and communications tool.
created as an add-on application for sales teams tracking leads and
opportunities, and released June 22, Chatter can be leveraged by employees
across an entire organization. Users can tweak their profiles, form groups,
click on notices and posts to see more details about cases, and follow others
within their company. If a particular case becomes more complex than
anticipated, a user can click an "Escalate" button and bring colleagues with
additional knowledge into the conversation.
Chatter is yet another sign of Salesforce.com's interest in
adding social-networking tools to its cloud-based offerings. In late 2009, the
company introduced Salesforce.com for Twitter, which allows customer-service
personnel using Salesforce.com to monitor public conversations about a product
and send tweets about service issues. Through its AppExchange 2 storefront,
Salesforce.com users can also download apps such as Chatter Mass Follower and
Chatter Live Tag Cloud.
New features baked into Chatter 2 include Chatter Filters,
which allow employees to sort through companywide postings for the specific
information they need; Chatter Topics, where adding a Twitter-style hashtag (#)
to an update will group it with other posts and comments; and Chatter
Recommendations, which recommends colleagues and groups to follow based on
common connections, number of followers, and management hierarchy.
Other features include Chatter Files, a repository for
employees' documents and presentations, and Chatter Desktop, which lets them
post updates and files without the need to open a Web browser; the latter comes
with pop-up alerts for new updates. Chatter Search (for scouring Chatter's
feeds, files, profiles and updates for particular keywords) and Chatter E-Mail
Digest, a weekly or daily newsletter of the latest Chatter posts.
Chatter 2 will be generally available in October, at no
additional charge for Salesforce CRM and Force.com subscribers. Some 20,000
companies currently use Chatter, according to Salesforce.com executives.
"The momentum behind Salesforce Chatter is astounding," Marc
Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, wrote in a Sept. 22 statement. "The excitement
we see from the industry and our customers is proof that the feed is the new
With the rise of Facebook and Twitter, businesses have come
to view social networking as a way to both monitor their customers and more
efficiently carry out in-house tasks. In that spirit, companies
such as Cisco and Oracle have integrated an increasing number of
social-networking and collaboration tools into their enterprise
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.