SharePoint Newsfeed for Windows 8,  mobile, social business
Main newsfeed start screen in the SharePoint Newfeed app for Windows 8

Need to keep in touch with your organization's SharePoint social network while you're on the road? Microsoft has announced the SharePoint Newsfeed app for Windows 8 to help you keep in touch.

The app allows viewing or posting to the public newsfeed or the newsfeed in team sites you’re following. It complements a previous release several months ago of the same app for Windows Phone 8 and iOS devices.

@Mentioning, Hashtags

Available for SharePoint 2013 users and SharePoint Online users in Office 365, the Newfeed app helps you keep up with the latest posts and comments, filter a Site Feed or create new posts. Other features include the ability to upload pictures, snap the newsfeed app to the side so you can work on something else, and utilize such social networking functions as @mentioning a colleague via a global address lookup or including hashtags.

You need to have a personal site in SharePoint Server 2013 or Office 365 SharePoint Online. Users who choose Yammer as their Office 365 social network can use the Yammer app on the Windows Store to participate in the newsfeed.

Microsoft does throw in a few caveats, such as not supporting versions of SharePoint prior to 2013. Connecting to the 2013 on-premises SharePoint requires that a user be “within your domain network or be using a remote technology like Windows Server 2012 DirectAccess.”

Moving to Yammer

Microsoft said in November that it would be releasing SharePoint apps to provide access for newsfeeds and documents, for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Android and iOS devices. In March, it unveiled the first SharePoint newsfeed mobile apps for Windows Phone 8 and iOS devices.

But these SharePoint newsfeed apps may just be placeholders, as Yammer gets positioned as the company’s social enterprise network. At the end of June, the Yammer newsfeed app was available with comparable functionality, and earlier in the month the company said that users could make Yammer their primary enterprise social experience in Office 365.

In a posting on the SharePoint Blog in March, for instance, a member of the SharePoint team wrote:

In my customer meetings over the last few months, people have often asked, ‘What should I use for social? Yammer or the SharePoint newsfeed?’ My answer has been clear: Go Yammer! Yammer is our big bet for enterprise social, and we're committed to making it the underlying social layer for all of our products. It will power the social experiences in SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics, and more.”

But for those customers who are not comfortable with multi-tenant cloud services and aren’t ready to make that move, the team wrote, “use the SharePoint newsfeed,” since it provides “rich social features” integrated with SharePoint.