Oracle's Social Networking Plans? - InformationWeek

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2/27/2009
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Oracle's Social Networking Plans?

There has been some buzz about Oracle working on a new social networking and blogging platform called Social Suite. It's true, but only sort of.

There has been some buzz about Oracle working on a new social networking and blogging platform called Social Suite. It's true, but only sort of.An Oracle spokesman says Social Suite is just a research project, and that it has "no plan to take the project beyond advanced development." However, as of October, according to documents that have been deleted from Oracle's Website (though cached for now here and here), Oracle was recruiting proof-of-concept customers and is asking interested companies to contact the software's product manager "for more information on how Oracle Social Suite can assist your enterprise."

Currently used as an internal tool, Social Suite includes blogging, single sign-on capability, search, social bookmarking, RSS and tagging and a way to add plug-ins and customize the suite -- including the use of OpenSocial APIs. One of the documents notes Social Suite uses Six Apart's Movable Type as its blogging platform, which a Six Apart spokeswoman confirmed.

Social Suite also includes a social networking feature called Oracle Semantic Communities. In addition to traditional social networking features, Oracle Semantic Communities will allow users to find friends or content based on the users' interests and has the ability to draw social graphs of relationships between people, content, and tags.

The Social Suite began life in 2007 as an internal tool called "Shiji" at its Asia Research and Development Center (OARDC), according to the documents. OARDC has offices throughout Asia and in the United States, and needed a way to securely share information and communicate goals. According to the documents, employees had already made thousands of posts on the platform by last summer.

It's unclear why Oracle removed the documents about Oracle Social Suite from its Web site. The company has spoken about Social Suite in public before, in a little-noticed address by Oracle Asia Research and Development Center VP Pascal Sero at the ZDNet Japan Social Technology Conference in October, as well as at an Oracle event in Japan in December.

Certainly, it wouldn't be surprising if Oracle was preparing such a product. The company released its Beehive collaboration suite (IM, e-mail, shared workspaces) last year, and collaboration was a huge topic at Oracle OpenWorld. Oracle's Social CRM applications share sales information via social networking.

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