SAN FRANCISCO: Salesforce.com has taken the wraps off the first update to its Chatter application, which aims to offer a social networking platform for businesses.
Chatter, which has the look and feel of the Facebook interface, lets users create profiles and post status updates as an aid to enterprise collaboration. Employees can ask questions or share information with others in the company.
The new version, slated for release in October as part of the Winter 11 update, was unveiled at the Oracle OpenWorld 2010 show in San Francisco on Wednesday. It will add features to bring the platform more in line with popular social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook.
Chatter Filters will let users choose to display only the customers or deals most important to them, while Recommendations offers suggestions on colleagues or groups to follow, Salesforce said.
Copying one of the most popular features of Twitter, Chatter Topics lets users group content using the hashtag.
Kraig Swensrud, Salesforce senior vice president of product marketing, highlighted Chatter Files and Desktop as the 'killer apps' for the product.
"You can share files and documents as easily as sharing pictures on Facebook, " he said. "Chatter Desktop lets you drag and drop presentations onto Chatter."
Salesforce also demonstrated Chatter running on some of the most popular mobile devices, including versions tailored for the iPad, iPhone, Dell Streak and BlackBerry Torch.
Dell was on hand at the launch event to extol the benefits of Chatter. John Miles, vice president of the Business Information Organization at Dell, showed a live demo of the firm's Chatter application running on his Streak. He said that Dell has 20,000 Chatter users, adding that its biggest fan is chief executive Michael Dell.
The first version of Chatter was launched only three months ago, but has already been deployed by 20,000 companies, according to Salesforce, about a quarter of its overall customer base. It is available at no charge to Salesforce CRM and Force.com customers.
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