The desperation with which corporations are trying to throw together Facebook-like solutions for their internal teams is certainly astonishing, but is it wise? Most of you would probably assume so, but Larry Dignan of ZDNet, SmartPlanet and TechRepublic is so against the idea that he compares Facebook for the corporate world to crap. Literally.
The Toilet Room
While most are doing back flips on the sidelines of the social-networking-for-the-enterprise shtick, Dignan is holding up a red flag. In a recent article for ZDNet, he uses Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff’s “obsession” with Facebook as a cause for concern. (Benioff is working hard to sell the idea of Chatter, a Facebook-for-the-enterprise creation that Salesforce.com hopes will be able to hold its own next to Microsoft’s SharePoint and Lotus Notes.)
The problem? Dignan seems to think there’s too much traffic within Facebook for it—and solutions like it—to be viable tools in the enterprise. And whether or not that will prove to be true, we have to admit that there are a lot of people on Facebook (400 million) and that it’s reasonable to assume there’s a great many out there that joined simply because everyone else they know is on it.
“In a nutshell, Facebook is a lot like poo,” Dignan said. “You inadvertently step in it and then spend a lot of time trying to clean it up. Do we really want to extend that social-poo-ridden approach to the enterprise? I don’t. All I want at work is to find an expert within two or three clicks. On Facebook, I can find a few good Farmville experts, but not much else.”
He concedes to the fact that enterprise software needs to be more social, but feels that using the direct Facebook approach would be the opposite of useful in the workplace.
Forget Your Desktop, Grab Your Mobile
Meanwhile, according to Google's John Herlihy, in three years our desktops will be irrelevant.
"In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs,” explained Herlihy at the Digital Landscapes conference at UCD. “Mobile makes the world’s information universally accessible. Because there’s more information and because it will be hard to sift through it all, that’s why search will become more and more important. This will create new opportunities for new entrepreneurs to create new business models – ubiquity first, revenue later.”
Similarly, Google's CEO Eric Schmidt reportedly stated at the GSM Association Mobile World Congress 2010 that everything the company will do going forward will be via a mobile lens, centering on the cloud, computing and connectivity.
Care for some mobile suggestions? Technical authoring tool provider MadCap recently kicked out native support for mobile publishing, while Oracle's Database Lite now enables the deployment, development and management of applications for mobile environments.
Photo-Editing in the Cloud
As for our favorite Internet superstar, Google recently bought Picnik, a photo-editing site. We suspect this purchase will benefit us Google users at some point in the future, probably as an integration with Google Docs.
"More than ever before, people are sharing and storing their photos online," said Brian Axe, a Google product manager. "But until recently, you had to edit your photos using client software on your computer. Today, we’re excited to announce that Google has acquired Picnik, one of the first sites to bring photo editing to the cloud."
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