For Salesforce, Chatter is the company’s major foray into the social enterprise and a way to capitalize on the “Facebook for the Enterprise” market. Salesforce Chatter, which was originally announced in November of 2009, was launched into public beta in June 2010 after four months in private beta. In the realtime collaboration platform’s first three months open to the public, Chatter has been adopted by 60,000 companies; with 25 percent of Salesforce’s client base using the platform. And most recently Salesforce debuted a new version and made the application free for users, with premium features as an optional add-on. Today, Salesforce is adding a number of new features, including Trending Topics on the network, and the ability to ‘Like’ actions, post a hashtag and send @replies to contacts in status updates.
Sound, familiar you say? Clearly Salesforce drew inspiration from both Twitter and Facebook for the new features. Ironic considering that Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff was quick to denounce Chatter as a social network when the platform first launched in 2009.
Of course, as Facebook has grown into an empire with 600 million users, its usability and collaborative features have major potential in the enterprise world. And Twitter has given users a new and novel way to interact with each other on the realtime web. As Twitter and Facebook become popular worldwide, it makes sense to translate the same experience a consumer has in their social environment to their professional lives. So, it makes sense for Chatter to add these features as a way to make the platform more social and easier to use.
In addition to adding these features to Chatter, Salesforce is also opening Chatter up to the public with the launch of Chatter.com (which will debut on Jan 31.). Chatter.com will be a completely self-service, free version of Chatter. The main difference between the existing version and Chatter.com is that Chatter sits inside the Salesforce ecosystem and is meant for existing Salesforce CRM, Force.com and Service Cloud users. Chatter.com can be used by any business, organization or company for free.
Sean Whiteley, SVP at Salesforce says that all the new features on Chatter have also been added to Chatter.com, includes likes, @replies, trending topics, hashtags and more. The two iterations of the social network are essentially the same. We also hear that Salesforce will soon be launching an Android app for Chatter as well.
Whiteley also tells us that Salesforce will be airing two Superbowl ads to publicize Chatter, both of which have been co-produced by and featuring the tech world’s newest golden boy Will.i.am.