Yammer Mostly Mimics Facebook But Offers New Stuff Too

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Yammer will relaunch next week in order to formalize itself as an enterprise social networking site. Where once the company could be described as Twitter for the enterprise, now it will be Facebook for the enterprise — to the point that you might do a double take when you see the new design. It’s so eerily similar to Facebook, I’d worry that I might get confused about whether I’m among my friends rather than my coworkers. So I was interested to learn whether Yammer is returning the favor and innovating and contributing technology and features that might have value for other social networks.

Most interesting, Yammer has come up with the idea of a dynamic object that changes state in its feed.

Along with the surface-level refresh, Yammer is adding applications to its platform including polls, events, links, questions, ideas and tasks. These objects appear in the activity stream just like what we’re used to on Facebook: e.g. someone found a lost little white-tailed buck on FarmVille. But instead of announcing that something has happened, the objects have a dynamic payload and can update using server-side JavaScript. So if you post a poll, other people could see it in their Yammer stream with dynamically updated results based on what other people had voted. These polls will be much more convenient than conducting a survey within a workforce using email or a dedicated polling app, Sacks said, adding that Yammer will also help organizations turn a poll into structured data to be exported and used elsewhere.

Yammer is opening up this platform to other companies who want to develop on it and create dynamic objects in the activity stream themselves.

Yammer, which has raised $15 million in funding, has 80,000 networks and more than 1 million users, with more than 15 percent of them paying customers. Though it has mobile and desktop apps, usage is primarily through the web version.

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my bio.

Related research from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Report: The Real-Time Enterprise

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