NewsGator Goes Global With Social Sites 2010
NewsGator (newssite) has released version 1.1 of Social Sites 2010. The updates and enhancements in this latest version will take the solution in more global markets and making enterprise collaboration a little easier.

On board with Microsoft and SharePoint 2010

A number of large organizations with a lot of knowledge workers have chosen SharePoint as their platform of choice for enterprise collaboration, and NewsGator is one Microsoft partner who is benefiting greatly. With the release of Social Sites 1.0 in June of this year, NewsGator jumped happily aboard the SharePoint 2010 wagon. But there was still work to do and yesterday they announced Social Sites 1.1. A minor note on the version, but a fairly big enhancement in the product.

So close is NewsGator's relationship with Microsoft, that the company is ranked 3rd of 3000 Development Management partners. They are the only third party social computing solution that can integrate with BPOS (SharePoint Online) and were one of three finalist for the 2010 ISV Partner of the year. 

Social Sites Advances SharePoint 2010's Social Capabilities

Many are pleased with what Microsoft has done with the social computing capabilities in SharePoint 2010. But it's really only a starting point. Enter NewsGator and Social Sites 2010, tightly integrated and installed directly on the SharePoint 2010 server stack.

Social Sites extends capabilities within SharePoint 2010 and adds additional capabilities such as microblogging, innovation management and communities. Here's a look at the full offering:

newsgatorSS11.jpg

NewsGator Social Sites 1.1

Going Global for Real

NewsGator already had a European presence, but their product was not multilingual. That has now changed. Version 1.1 has been localized in nine languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Japanese. 

Part of the need to globalize the product came from a third party company that OEM'd Social Sites within their own solution.

But That's Not All That is New

The fact that NewsGator Social Sites 2010 is now globalized is an important update for the solution. But it's not all that's new in this latest version. To get started, have a look at NewsGator's Social Core:

NewsGator_SocialCore.jpg

NewsGator Social Sites 1.1: Social Core
 

Profiles are an extension of SharePoint's built in Profiles, Connections are affliated with the groups area and communities, Content includes both core content and metadata and Events are the activities that take place within the social interactions.

Here's a quick glance at some of the other enhancements that come with Social Sites 1.1:

  • The activity stream has been updated to allow users to hide or delete events appearing in their stream. You can filter the stream by most popular, people, communities, tags or use a search field.
  • A new mini profile card will appear if you hover over a person's name that includes some basic information on the person.
  • You can now ask a question to a specific person or community using auto completing hashtags. This ties into SharePoint's "ask me about" field in a user's profile. Q&As are indexed by SharePoint search.
  • Ratings and tagging can be turned on and off in communities (configured by community).
  • A new Recommended colleagues web part assists with building connections. There is also a Recommended Communities web part.
  • The Social Sites Helper web part will guide you through the steps to get your profile up to date and offers tutorials on major features.
  • Broadcast to activity feeds, with the broadcast notice sticking to the top of the stream.
  • Governance is supported through a new Terms and Conditions feature that appears and must be agreed to before you can start to view or post to the activity stream.

Jammed packed with updates. But Social Sites is still not feature complete. NewsGator's VP of Products Brian Kellner talked about upcoming updates that will enrich the event store even more, along with some additional modules like Expertise Discovery (coming in Q4) and a Goverance Module (sometime next year).

But one thing he doesn't see happening too soon is the addition of workflow activities into the event store (see: Box Supports Enterprise Collaboration with a Content-Centric Newsfeed) and thus the activity stream. So there still seems to be a disconnect between SharePoint's document management (document collaboration) capabilities and its social computing capabilities. 

On Working in the Cloud

Kellner told us that most of NewsGator's deployments are on premise, but with Microsoft's commitment to SharePoint in BPOS we will likely see that change over time. NewsGator is currently going through the certification process for BPOS using SharePoint 2010.

He also didn't rule out developing Social Sites for another platform (other than SharePoint), but again, there's nothing in the near future to point out here. Besides, SharePoint is going nowhere, so while wouldn't they ride this wave all the way?

Social Sites 1.1 will be available in the next 30 days. Take a closer look at what's new on their website.