Recently, I had a chance to catch up with Puneet Gupta, CEO of Connectbeam. I wrote about them a while back on the Fast Forward blog, Connectbeam: Combining Social Bookmarking and Social Networking. As the post title suggests they believe that business networking begins around the sharing of ideas and information so they tightly integrated social bookmarking into their social networking platform.
Now they have taken things a step further with their Release 2.2. It introduces the Connectbeam web services Application Programming Interface (API) that enables you to add full functionality of Connectbeam social software into your existing IT applications. The Connectbeam web services API consists of a series of programming interfaces that have been modularized into functional areas such as Social Search, Bookmarking and Tagging, Social Network, and Communities – allowing you to pick and chose the functionality you chose to integrate with your existing apps and IT infrastructure. You can find out more about what they are doing at the Connectbeam Social Computing Blog.
Puneet showed me an example of how this works. We saw a demonstration of Connectbeam integration with Sharepoint. We first saw how Connectbeam integrates with Sharepoint search. A search term, java, was entered into the Sharepoint search field. The standard Sharepoint response came back in the left column. On the right side was additional contextual information delivered through Connectbeam. You can see a list of related tags, related users, and related bookmarks. Clicking on any of these links brought you to additional information relevant information about the social context of the search. For example, the clicking on one of the related user provides a list of the documents this person has tagged with the search term.
In the second example of Sharepoint integration, we went to the profile page of the Sharepoint user. There was an about me tab that was part of Sharepoint. Next to it was a social context tab that brought information from Connectbeam. For the individual you saw their tags, their bookmarks, and their communities. Each item in each list was a live link to more information. In both cases the integration between Connectbeam and Sharepoint was complete and not apparent to the user who saw the additional social information as just part of the same interface. You can find this demo through their Connectbeam web site.
In addition to the open APIs, Connectbeam’s Release 2.2 also includes other new features. There is automatic user provisioning for LDAP to eliminate user registration process and dynamic email address lookup for ease of community invitations. Enhanced licensing infrastructure allows you to better monitor application usage and adoption. Multi-language support is also offered for global implementations.
There is a growing trend of enterprise 2.0 applications opening up their APIs for integration with enterprise applications. This is a welcome addition as it brings in the social context in robust manner through Connectbeam’s strong combination of social networking and social bookmarking.