unveils Chatter today launched a social networking site designed for enterprises along with a development platform with a focus on social networking apps.

Named Salesforce Chatter, the social network aims to enable companies to collaborate with each other securely through a private social network whilst also helping developers to create social enterprise applications on the platform.

The announcement was made at Salesforce's Dreamforce conference being held in San Francisco this week.

Marc Benioff, chairman and chief executive of Salesforce, said in his keynote speech: "It is hard to even think that there could be something as big as cloud computing happening at the same time... but without a question mark over the past 10 years a similar shift has been happening in computing.. and that has been social computing, it has been spectacular."

He added: "We have to ask the question why is there not a Facebook for the enterprise? Why do I know more about Ashton Kutcher on Twitter than I do of my customers? Once again we have been eclipsed by the consumer."

"Something has to change. We need our biggest breakthrough ever... Salesforce Chatter, the magic of Facebook and Twitter brought to your enterprise. We are going see the magic of content, apps and people brought into the enterprise," he added.

Chatter will feature the usual social networking elements such as profiles, status updates, feeds and groups as well as being able to pull in your own established profiles from Facebook and Twitter.

There will also be the ability to share business documents and update users on any changes made to them.

Jason Goldman, on the board of directors at Twitter, said in the keynote: "Chatter makes it easier to discover almost instantaneously information that matters to [you] in real time, the same goal that we have at Twitter."

However, on top of keeping up with your business, you can keep up with customers as well or other large companies that relate to what you do.

In addition to these social networking abilities, there will be the option for developers to use the platform to make apps aimed at social enterprises. Again this will let the developers have profiles, status updates, groups and feeds but it will also include Google, Twitter and Facebook developer kits, a set of Chatter APIs and shared security models.

Chatter is set to be released in early 2010 and will come as part of any Salesforce CRM and paid editions. As well as being accessible through the web browser, it will also be available via BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and iPhone devices.

A new edition will costs a user $50 (30) per user per month.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.