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Microsoft SharePoint-based social software gets video sharing, plus enhanced news feeds and brainstorming.
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NewsGator is adding a video-sharing module to Social Sites 2010, the enterprise social network it delivers on top of Microsoft SharePoint.
The NewsGator Video Stream allows employees to upload video in any common format, store it in SharePoint, and share it as streaming media with a Silverlight-based player that can be embedded in the NewsGator activity stream.
"You can see the most recent, most liked, and most viewed videos, and the server intelligently picks the right bit rate to deliver that to the user," Brian Kellner, vice president of development and product management, said in an interview. "The most powerful part is it can handle lots and lots of different video file formats." Supported formats include Windows Media (WMV, WMA), AVI, QuickTime (MOV), DirectShow Filters, MPEG-2, AVCHD, and Dolby Digital.
By automating the process of handling large video file uploads and transcoding them, NewsGator is trying to deliver something like the simplicity of YouTube for use within the enterprise. Potential applications could include capturing training conducted by videoconference, using Microsoft Lync, and sharing the archived version on the corporate social network.
NewsGator also announced updates to two other optional feature packages. The News Stream module can now incorporate RSS and Atom newsfeeds, including Twitter and LinkedIn updates. The Idea Stream package, which allows companies to host internal brainstorming forums, has been updated to allow authorized users to create private brainstorming areas to which only selected users are invited.
Though originally best known for its RSS reader software, from which the company took its name, today NewsGator is primarily an enterprise social media company, specifically targeting organizations that are commited to SharePoint as a collaboration platform, Kellner said. "We don't try to sell people on SharePoint--if they haven't bought into SharePoint, we don't try to sell to those accounts."
As part of the third-party developer ecosystem that has grown up around SharePoint's mix of virtues and shortcomings, NewsGator has carved out a niche adding to the relatively limited social software features in the Microsoft corporate portal. Where other enterprise social media companies advertise SharePoint integration, NewsGator uses SharePoint as its core content management platform and focuses its development effort on staying a step ahead of Microsoft as it continues to round out the platform, Kellner said.
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