Salesforce.com has officially taken their Chatter program out of private beta, making the service available to the companies 77,000 customers and anyone else willing to sign up for their services. Chatter is now available as an integrated program and a stand alone application with development frameworks built in for developer use.
The product is available through the companies web portal, Force.com and AppExchange.
Chatter features an activity stream that will look quite familiar to Facebook users, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the product is billed as a “Facebook for Enterprise” option.
Along with the stream option Salesforce has implemented a new group tool that allows users to create public and private groups which can then be used to share information about projects and to communicate about those projects. The Groups product allows small to large groups to communicate over streams, escalate project issues and voice internal and external concerns. If you want one feature that trumps them all, Groups is where you need to look when investigating the new program.
Thanks to Chatter’s integration with Force.com we should see many new features and integrations emerge from the 160,000 Force.com apps Chatter is able to work with once integrated. Since Chatter was built as a platform and not just a service, App developers can choose to use the entire program in their applications or pick and choose which features they want to use and which they would prefer to ditch. The ability to tear apart and rebuild what Chatter does means more unique software programs that may be intended for different types of business uses.
Unlike Facebook there is associated costs. If you already use Salesforce for your company Chatter is free, however a Chatter only option is also available for just $15 per user/month.
Here’s a screenshot of Chatter in use:
You could conduct your business using private Twitter access, but this is just so much more streamlined.
What do you think about Chatter? We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you’ll be using this service for your business.