Salesforce leaps into social networking

The new, private Chatter service from Salesforce helps employees and partners connect with each other and stay current on collaborative projects

Salesforce.com today introduced Salesforce Chatter, a social networking service in the cloud that customers use to set up secure walled gardens for collaborative business efforts. The new offering also enables subscribers to the Force.com app dev platform to turn existing Force.com applications into social apps.

Chatter offers many of the features of social networking sites like Facebook, including profiles, status updates, update feeds, and groups. In this way, users across a business can easily connect with other users, see what others are working on, and team up to work on projects. Chatter can also pull content directly from users' Facebook and Twitter feeds.

[ Last month, Salesforce signed a deal with Adobe to bring Flash to Force.com. ]

Beyond social networking, there's the app dev angle. Chatter comes with pre-built components that can be added to Force.com apps to make them social, and Chatter APIs allow developers to integrate social capabilities into any Web application (not just Force.com ones). Users can also create applications to share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with each other, and Salesforce's social sharing model provides multiple access levels to control which users have access to what information.

Salesforce is also leveraging its existing developer toolkits for Google Apps, Facebook, and Twitter, helping users set up communication to bring Google Apps, Facebook, or Twitter data into Chatter as well as create new Google or Facebook applications that work with Chatter.

Chatter will be available for the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile devices as well, allowing traveling employees to stay connected. General availability is expected sometime in 2010. It will be included in all paid editions of Salesforce CRM and Force.com.

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