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Yammer readies new 'Online Now' chat feature

Enterprise social network Yammer, which was recently acquired by Microsoft, is currently testing a new chat feature that it plans to announce in the coming weeks.

The new feature, first spotted by The Next Web, allows Yammer users to instant message colleagues in their company network in real time. Yammer is currently testing several different versions of the upcoming chat feature, which will be called "Online Now," a spokesperson told TechCrunch. As part of the testing process, Yammer is randomly displaying the feature to certain users.

In the version spotted by TNW, the chat feature is located on the bottom right side of the screen. Chat correspondence is grouped under the "private messages" tab, but is also displayed in a separate, more convenient chat window.

If you don't yet see the new feature, don't feel left out - Yammer is planning to officially announce it "in a couple of weeks" as part of a summer release, TechCrunch reported.

A Yammer spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Yammer last month hinted that a chat feature was on tap. In a post on the Yammer feedback page, a company representative said "you'll see it within the next month or so" and shared a photo of the feature in testing (above).

For those not familiar with Yammer, it essentially functions like Facebook for businesses. Corporate teams can join specific groups and keep each other updated on what they're doing. Where Facebook asks "What happened today?" in its status updates box, Yammer asks "What are you working on?"

Microsoft in June acquired Yammer for $1.2 billion (£770 million). At the time, Microsoft said Yammer would be joining the Microsoft Office division and the computing giant promised to incorporate Yammer into offerings like SharePoint, Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics, and Skype in the future.