Its a pretty safe bet that the next version of SharePoint will include functionality aimed at bringing many of the benefits people are enjoying from sites like Facebook to the Enterprise. We certainly see lots of advantages in being able to map out the connections between colleagues, thereby providing mechanisms that effortlessly communicate what people are working on and organically identify subject matter experts. Having just read this article, it looks to me like this functionality is going to be driven out of the “OfficeLabs” team, an approach which gives me some confidence given the team is led by OneNote (one of my favourite all time apps) creator Chris Pratley.
With a layout that is strikingly similar to Facebook.com's (in which Microsoft invested $240 million in October 2007), TownSquare is fueled by enterprise news feeds that use Web services to query SharePoint for public information, such as promotions and company anniversaries, about an employee.
TownSquare also notifies users when a document or file is modified. Users can customize their feeds and monitor who is receiving information about them.
I have recently been thinking about how to build something that does just this, largely driven by the vastly improved SharePoint Search technology. Its one of the reasons why I built out the zevenseas Search OM that we release to codeplex last week, making search application easier to write. MOSS Search provides an excellent mechanism for aggregating information in a scalable and performant way. Anyway, be sure to watch the OfficeLabs site.
Microsoft testing prototype of Facebook-like social network | InfoWorld | News | 2008-06-11 | By Heather Havenstein, Computerworld