Has Salesforce.com just unveiled a rival to Google Wave?

19 Nov 2009

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Cloud-computing player Salesforce.com has introduced a platform that will act as a “Facebook for the Enterprise” that it claims will revolutionise the workplace by leveraging the social-networking revolution.

The new technology, called Salesforce Chatter, however, sounds eerily close to what Google is trying to achieve with Wave, which it claims is going to replace email as a work tool.

“Why do I know more about strangers on Facebook than my own employees?” asked Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com. “Now, through Salesforce Chatter, my business is tweeting me. My employees can use the models they love to get the collaboration they need.”

Like a social network

The new Salesforce Chatter technology promises that content, applications and people will now have profiles, feeds and groups, enabling them to be deeply connected.

In addition, developers will now be able to use the Salesforce Chatter platform to build social enterprise applications, and all 135,000 native Force.com applications will instantly become social.

Salesforce.com is the only company uniquely positioned to deliver a social, enterprise-scale application and platform like Chatter because of its world-class security, trusted sharing model and the critical business information stored in Salesforce.com’s cloud apps. Salesforce Chatter will be Salesforce.com’s first enterprise-wide app, bringing the power of cloud computing to every employee.

“Salesforce Chatter is a true breakthrough, bringing social computing to the enterprise,” said Bruce Richardson of AMR.

“Salesforce.com has created a Facebook for the enterprise by combining real-time, familiar social-networking features like profiles and feeds, with the enterprise-tested, secure sharing model required by businesses that is the at the foundation of Salesforce.com. This is going to change the way business thinks about collaboration.”

Use of information

The Salesforce Chatter technology allows users to make use of people profiles and status updates, stream news feeds, work with a number of teams, and deploy social apps and social content across the internet.

The Chatter application will also enable users to filter the most relevant Twitter feeds into their Chatter app. For example, a user can set up a Twitter search for a competitor and automatically stream the real-time results into Chatter.

Employees can also use Facebook to pull information from their Facebook profiles to auto populate their Chatter profiles.

The new app will also be available on any BlackBerry, Windows Mobile device or iPhone, heralding a promising unified communications element to the whole vision.

“Twitter is based on the idea that the open exchange of information has a positive global impact. We see a lot of the same inspiration behind Chatter. We think it will enable employees to find more information, more quickly, from the people and content that matters most to them,” said Jason Goldman, director of products, Twitter.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce.com.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com