updated 04:30 pm EDT, Wed June 11, 2008
MS' corporate Facebook
Microsoft's Office Labs division is testing an internal Facebook-like social network, today's reports say. The company's TownSquare social site, still in prototype form, has already been used by about 8,000 Microsoft employees and provides updates about colleagues, including major occasions and promotions. The software works in conjunction with MS SharePoint to get public information on employees, and can notify employees when files are modified. Employees can also check which other employees are accessing their information. While employees aren't required to use the site, about 700 use it daily.
The general manager of Office Labs, Chris Pratley, said TownSquare is meant to be a platform for testing new corporate web 2.0 applications. "We're trying to get version three goodness into a first release," he said. Unnamed Microsoft customers are also testing the TownSquare network.
Last year, the software giant bought a 1.6 percent stake in the social website, and is taking cues from the purchase already. The TownSquare prototype launched this past January on the request of Microsoft's SharePoint and Office product development teams, with a user interface that looks similar to Facebook's.
More information about TownSquare will be revealed to the public on Thursday at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference.