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To Socialize SharePoint, NewsGator Goes on the Lookout

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Posted August 9, 2012 By Pedro Hernandez     Feedback

New features in Newsgator's Social Sites 3.0 aim to bring relevance, personalization to SharePoint social sharing as Yammer integration looms.

What Yammer acquisition? cNewsGator is signaling there's plenty of room for other social enterprise players on Microsoft's court by rolling out a new version of the Social Sites plugin for SharePoint.

Between major product revamps that encompass both Microsoft's consumer and business software lines, not to mention the company's blockbuster Yammer buy, Redmond and its software partners are in a state of upheaval. That has many wondering, will the SharePoint social plug-in ecosystem dry up when Microsoft fully integrates Yammer?

Denver, Colo.-based NewsGator appears unfazed.

Socializing SharePoint

In fact, the company is pressing ahead and setting its sights on Microsoft's yet-to-be-released SharePoint 2013 product. NewGator's Brian Kellner, executive vice president of development and product management, said that confidence stems from feedback from over 4 million customers.

"Our customers told us they needed a better way to filter, refine, interact and consume large amounts of information in the social streams," said Kellner in a statement to the press. "Whether they are on SharePoint 2010 or plan to move to 2013, they will still have the most advanced social experience available."

That social experience includes a redesigned user interface in Social Sites 3.0 called Lookout. Personalization and relevance are Lookout's key attributes, and NewGator says that together they enable Lookout to "filter out the 'noise' from the useful information."

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Using a multi-column setup similar to leading social media management apps like TweetDeck, Lookout allows users to pinpoint and monitor social media interactions and discover content that most matters to them, or in this context, their job function. Users can personalize Lookout's drag-and-drop interface to organize and follow activity streams, notifications, people and communities that yield relevant and timely content. 

And the product picks up where a user's fine-tuning leaves off. Lookout's filtering capabilities "intelligently refine what information the user receives," says the company. Recommendation engine support provides a measure of social intelligence, alerting users to social accounts and communities that are worth their time.

With Social Sites 3.0, SharePoint users can load their activity streams with HD video, badges, Q&A sessions and private messaging. Email integration enables workers to update and interact with activity streams via their inboxes. Finally, the software includes a new, touch-enabled Windows 8 interface -- just before supporting tablets it begin to "Surface" in the workplace.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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