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salesforce announced today that it’s going to join the hordes of companies offering a social networking service for your business. With a new product called Salesforce Chatter, companies get their own secure, private social network where they can collaborate and communicate in real-time.

It’s a crowded market, with existing products from Jive Software, Socialtext, and many others, but Salesforce is one of the biggest companies to throw its hat in the ring. (Cisco recently announced social networking tools too.) Chief executive Marc Benioff will presumably make the announcement during his keynote speech at the company’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco (which starting right now), but the news is already online. I’ll have more comments from Benioff soon, but in the meantime you can check out statements he made earlier this year about how real-time tools like Twitter are setting the example for business apps and infrastructure.

Chatter features will include:

  • Employee profiles
  • Status updates
  • News feeds
  • Groups
  • Integration with business apps like Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and Service Cloud, so users’ activity in the apps shows up in feeds
  • Alerts when content like documents, spreadsheets, and presentations are added to the network
  • Twitter integration, so users can see Twitter feeds in Chatter
  • Facebook integration, so users can pull profile information into Chatter
  • Integration with Salesforce’s, application platform, so apps can send updates to Chatter
  • Mobile support

Salesforce says it will release Chatter in 2010 and charge $50 per user per month.

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