Microsoft is hopping on the Web 2.0 bandwagon with the launch of an add-on for SharePoint server that lets businesses get in on popular Web 2.0 collaboration features like wikis and blogs. Community Kit for SharePoint, was announced the Enterprise 2.0 by conference Microsoft general manager of SharePoint tools and platforms, Derek Burney. The add-on will include templates for enhancing a blog’s look, better wiki tools and (gasp) a tag cloud feature. The product was spearheaded and built by a group of about 20 volunteers and released on Microsoft’s code-sharing site, CodePlex. Burney believes that Web 2.0 technologies in business are effective for exactly this sort of task, where organizations can solicit opinions and feedback from customers through the Internet to improve product development. “It’s great because the product can grow outside of its release cycle,” he said. Enterprise RSS vendor NewsGator said that it has improved SharePoint’s feed subscribing tools with tagging and an Ajax interface. Not bad. The integration of Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis and social networking features into businesses has been gaining momentum over the past few years and has sometimes been referred to as “Enterprise 2.0”. Although smaller software companies like Jive Software and Social Text have created products designed to be lightweight, user-friendly alternatives to traditional content management and collaboration tools, Microsoft is one of the larger software vendors joining in on the Enterprise 2.0 fray. IBM will be releasing a series of tools, such as Lotus Connect, which provides blogs and bookmarking tools for business users. In case you're scratching your head and wondering, yes, Microsoft already has built-in support for blogs and wikis in the SharePoint 2007 product. It also has a nifty tool called MySite that allows business workers to create individual profile pages with details on themselves and their work projects -- like a Myspace for professionals! The Community Kit just takes these things to the next level and speed deployment and prototyping. Microsoft hosts several mashup meetings a month where representatives from different departments and groups in the company can get together and compare notes. These meetings have been highly productive, according to Burney, leading to hundreds of good ideas, five product prototypes and even an patent application. Microsoft’s overall collaboration platform, which includes enterprise search, business intelligence and enterprise content management, revolves mostly around SharePoint and other Office products. The company has cast a broad net with MOSS 2007. What we're seeing now is the refinements of the individual pieces as they come toe-to-toe with more mature products in the market. Stay tuned as the collaboration playing field evolves.