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Microsoft, Google and Salesforce.com continue social media crusade

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18th Feb 2010
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The big boys are starting to really flex their muscles in the social media space by adding social networking extensions to several of their traditional products.

Microsoft, Google and Salesforce.com all continued trying to leap on the social media bandwagon this week by adding social networking extensions to their traditional products.

Salesforce.com is attempting to take on Microsoft’s Sharepoint and IBM’s Lotus Notes offerings by unveiling a private beta programme for its new real-time enterprise collaboration platform dubbed Chatter, which can be accessed using Blackberry and iPhone mobile devices.

The vendor has signed up 100 participants including Reed Exhibitions, US-based private healthcare organisation the Schumacher Group and US-based consumer credit reporting agency, TransUnion to the scheme.

Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s chairman and chief executive, claimed that, as a result of the launch: "The end of legacy collaboration software like Microsoft Sharepoint and IBM Lotus Notes is here."

Chatter, which was first launched at the firm’s Dreamforce user conference in November last year, has a similar look-and-feel to consumer social networking sites and enables organisations to collaborate by sharing real-time profiles, feeds and status updates. Users will be provided with relevant information based on the people, documents, feeds and applications that they decide to follow.

The offering will also include pre-built software components that can be assembled to create new collaboration applications or enhance existing ones found on the vendor’s Force.com application marketplace. For our news story on Chatter's test programme click here.

Microsoft and Google

Microsoft, meanwhile, took another step towards attempting to transform its Outlook desktop email application into a social media hub by releasing a beta version of its add-on Social Connector product. The offering was first unveiled last November and works with Office 2003, 2007 and beta versions of Office 2010.

The software adds a new window in Outlook’s main email screen and when users click on an email message, the window fills up with a list of their most recent social networking activities.

Such activities could include the addition of a professional contact on LinkedIn or a ‘what I’m doing now’ status update from Facebook, but users will not be able to actively to push information back to such sites.

On the other hand, if email correspondents are jointly working on a document stored on the supplier’s Sharepoint server, both will now be able to see any edits if one of them logs on to make changes.

Plug-ins for Linked in exist now, but Facebook and MySpace equivalents are expected to be ready for download from their respective web sites by the time Office 2010 goes on sale this June.

Finally, Google has added MySpace status updates to its real-time search engine on top of existing support for Twitter and Facebook’s FriendFeed. Customers can access the real-time search engine by choosing the ‘updates’ or ‘latest’ options in order to filter results and the MySpace status updates will include links to short Twitter-like messages, photos and blog posts.

Facebook is also working with Microsoft to display real-time content on its Bing search engine.

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