SAN FRANCISCO "Can we talk?" On the Web, that's becoming more and more a rhetorical question of course you can. Enterprise social media provider Socialtext announced that Signals, its "Twitter for the enterprise," is officially out of beta and a finished product.
Meanwhile, plucky online applications provider Zoho enhanced its suite of applications by adding Chat 2.0 functionality within each one.
Both companies made their announcements here at the Web 2.0 Expo. The show is co-produced by O'Reilly Media and TechWeb and showcases the latest Web 2.0 business models as well as design and development strategies for building the next-generation Web.
Socialtext chairman and co-founder Ross Mayfield said development of Signals was prompted by enterprise customer's need for tools and services similar to what consumers are using (e.g. Facebook and Twitter), but with more control and focus on business use.
"Companies see their users using these third party consumer services and they're worried that they're insecure and with good reason," Mayfield told InternetNews.com. "What they all want is Facebook for the enterprise, which is a very different cultural use case."
Signals is part of the Socialtext Desktop, a cross-platform application that includes wiki (define) and blogging tools and runs on Windows, Mac or Linux systems. It has the same 140 character limit for messages that Twitter has, with one exception: added links such as URLs don't count toward the character total. "People like the brevity of the 140 character limit," said Mayfield.
The news comes at a time of increased consumer and business interest in social media as IT wrestles with how or whether to limit the use of consumer services in the enterprise.
Separately, Zoho unveiled Zoho Chat 2.0, a kind of uber IM service that lets users connect to all the other major IM services: Yahoo, Google, MSN, AIM, ICQ and Jabber-based networks, from a single log-in. Chat 2.0's integration with other Zoho apps is designed to streamline the process of, for example, starting an online Zoho Meeting with multiple users.
Other features include Chat History, which lets users search their entire chat history and review all chat transcripts with all users. There is also an Embed Chat option that lets you place a chat box in a Web site or blog to communicate in real time with visitors.
Buttons on the lower left corner of any Zoho application show the different IM services you can toggle between or simply see all your IM connections at once.
"You can add your Gmail or IM contacts," Rodrigo Vaca, Zoho's director of marketing in a demo here at the company's booth. "And we also support group conversations which not every IM service does. But the main thing is this is integrated in the application so you're not having to go to a separate client for your IMs."
This article was first published on InternetNews.com.