Microsoft privately testing a 'Twitter for business' service

Summary:Microsoft is continuing to look into ways to make social computing services part of business users' lives with a new pilot program for something called "OfficeTalk." Microsoft mentioned OfficeTalk in a March 19 posting on the Office Labs blog, calling it a vehicle that “applies the base capabilities of microblogging to a business environment."

Microsoft is continuing to look into ways to make social computing services part of business users' lives with a new pilot program for something called "OfficeTalk."

Microsoft mentioned OfficeTalk in a March 19 posting on the Office Labs blog, calling it a vehicle that “applies the base capabilities of microblogging to a business environment, enabling employees to post their thoughts, activities, and potentially valuable information to anyone who might be interested.”

(From that description, OfficeTalk could be more like the enterprise microblogging service Yammer than Twitter, as a few readers have noted. But there's really not enough information on the Office Labs' site to know for sure....)

Office Labs officials described OfficeTalk as a research project, with no clear or definite commercialization path. (It is one of the team's "Concept Tests," like the recently introduced Ribbon Hero training game, Canvas for OneNote add-on, and pptPlex zoomable canvas.) Officials said OfficeTalk was "one of the most popular internal concept tests to date."

Microsoft isn't offering any more details on what OfficeTalk looks like or what it will do. The Office Labs folks describe it as beeing "pretty bare bones." They are allowing interested parties to fill out a brief survey to see if they qualify to test the service.

Update (March 22): Picturepan2 has posted a screen shot of OfficeTalk, if you want to see what it looks like.

Topics: Software, Collaboration, Microsoft, Social Enterprise

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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