David Sacks, the founder of genealogy site Geni, just launched a new company called Yammer on stage at TechCrunch50. Yammer is an enterprise version of Twitter. If Twitter asks: “What Are You Doing?”, Yammer asks: “What Are You Working On?” Engineers at Geni created Yammer internally for the company’s own purposes, but Sacks liked it so much he decided to spin it off as its own company. He explains:
The purpose is to allow co-workers to share status updates. You post updates on what you are working on. You can post news, links, ask questions, and get answers for people in your company.
You can see most the most prolific people and the most followed people. It is a good way to discover who is the most influential in your company.
It is also possible to follow specific people or topics (as defined by tags). Conversations can be viewed in threaded mode, like FriendFeed. By keeping up with Yammer, employees can see what everyone else in the company is talking about over the past 24 hours, week, or month.
This is a private Twitter only for employees of a specific company. Just like Facebook in the early days, which required a university e-mail address to join, Yammer requires a corporate email address to join.
Unlike Twitter, Yammer actually has a business model. It is free to use for employees, but if a company wants to claim their network and get administrative tools to remove messages and users, set password policies, or set IP ranges for who can use it.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, one of the judges of the panel on which Yammer launched, commented:
I really like this company the best.
The name is not very corporate. It reminded me of what I’m having for Thanksgiving. Maybe you could use a Yam for a logo.
The service is now live. And the company is also has a desktop AIR app, an iPhone app, and a Blackberry app.