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Salesforce Expands Chatter With Instant Messaging

Salesforce is set to bolster Chatter, its enterprise focused social networking service, with a pair of new features.

Namely, the new Chatter Messenger, an instant messaging client, and a screen sharing tool to deepen collaboration and information sharing facilities.

The IM service has been introduced, Salesforce says, to combat the problem of staff being forced to install and use public, unsecured instant messaging clients; while still allowing enterprises to enjoy the many benefits of IM such as hosting group chats.

At the annual Cloudforce event in London, Salesforce's European product marketing manager, Charlie Richey, told "Over the years there's been a sea of individual technologies that have come out, like IM, that can help with collaboration that have become part of businesses working practices by enabling staff to easily share data, links, and information.

"But these have existed as islands of collaboration. By baking Messenger into the Chatter platform, we can provide these benefits but within a business context on a single platform."

The other introduction, the Chatter Screensharing utility, does pretty much what it says on the tin - allows a user to share the content of their screen with other staff in the company, up to 10 people at a time. Salesforce will allow for the overlay of the IM tool here, so users can discuss what they're seeing on the screen.

While the IM feature is ready to be unleashed next month, the screen sharing option is still in development, with a pilot service planned to roll out in the third quarter.