Yammer, which launched two years ago as a Twitter clone for the enterprise, is now revamping itself with a new platform that looks almost exactly like Facebook.
In both its old and new versions, Yammer attempts to bring social networking into businesses in a way that harnesses the advantages of the tools without opening content up to the public Internet. In Yammer's first go-round, employees on the same e-mail domain could swap Twitter-like messages with each other, but it never gained popularity on anything like the scale enjoyed by the real Twitter.
The "New Yammer" was launched Tuesday, and if you've ever used Facebook then you already know what it looks like. Just like Facebook, you can post status updates, create events and polls, share links and do other similar tasks.
Yammer announced the new version of its site at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference.
"We've expanded our product from an enterprise microblogging solution to a full-fledged enterprise social network," Yammer said.
Third-party companies will be able to build on top of the Yammer platform, in the same way that third-party developers build on top of Facebook and Twitter.
"Since our inception, Yammer has had a public API, allowing third parties to develop applications on top of Yammer. We've now expanded to a full platform, on which third-party companies can develop new applications and integrate existing enterprise apps," the company said.
Yammer is also coordinating with several other vendors to add business functionality to the Facebook clone. These features include help desk software, enterprise content management, document collaboration, CRM and online expense reports.
Yammer won't be alone in the enterprise Facebook market. Salesforce.com has a site called "Chatter" that is designed for internal business use. But despite vendors trying to create private alternatives to social networks, investor Mike Maples, Jr. told Network World earlier this year that he believes Facebook and Twitter will ultimately be extended into the enterprise and work behind the firewall.
Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin
Read more about lans and routers in Network World's LANs & Routers section.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.