Socialtext today issued the third iteration of its wiki platform for businesses, a release that includes Socialtext People, the company's "Facebook for the enterprise" application.
The company also upgraded its Socialtext Workspace wiki and widget-based Dashboard app, but my interest was particularly piqued when Socialtext founder and chairman Ross Mayfield told me about an upcoming product, Socialtext Signals.
Signals is Socialtext's "Twitter for the Enterprise," a microblogging app that provides automated and manual updates with social networking context. For example, Signals will work with Socialtext People to provide context around who is microblogging, or "signaling."
Signals will also integrate with Socialtext Workspace to provide context around what and why they are signaling, and further integration with Socialtext Dashboard will provide context around activity updates and user conversations.
For example, users editing a wiki page in Workspace would be able to summarize what they're doing with Signals. Fellow users would then be able to see all of the Signals a person has posted through their People profile.
"It's a tool for people to do questions and answers without overloading peoples' attention," Mayfield said.
Some might see Signals as an app borrowing a page out of enterprise microblogging tools from Socialcast, Present.ly or Yammer, which captured the top application award at TechCrunch50 earlier this month.
But Mayfield said Socialtext has been using Signals internally for the last six months and is working hard to integrate the app into its platform. This context will set it apart from one-off microblogs, as Mayfield noted:
"The conversations on Signals are very different than what you would find in a more public Twitter. It's different because it's within the context of an existing organization trying to get things done. Twittering without context is just frittering your time away."
Signals is currently available in controlled pre-release to a select number of customers, and there is no timetable for a more general launch for the app.
Mayfield said Signals will be directly integrated into the Socialtext platform, but the company hasn't yet decided whether it will be an optional module like Socialtext People, or included outright in the platform.
As for the Socialtext 3.0 platform upgrades, Socialtext Dashboard, which provides an alert feed of colleagues' activity, supports the OpenSocial widget standard created by programmers at Google. Like iGoogle pages, this app lets non-programmers users drag and drop widgets on a page.
Socialtext People includes profiles and a user directory to let workers describe themselves and subscribe to colleagues' activity feeds. People includes Digg-like tagging tools and costs $500 for 100 users per month
Socialtext continues to hew to the model that has made it money, so Socialtext 3.0 is available now as a hosted SAAS (software as a service) and as an on-premise appliance starting in October this year.