The Summer '12 release of saw Chatter Messenger finally made generally available. Chatter Messenger is a feature I have been watching closely ever since I heard about it. As a Administrator, a real-time instant messaging platform baked right in to every page, with no installation required, is a massive benefit to supporting end users on a day-to-day basis.

The Winter '13 release is right around the corner, here's a list of 5 features I would like to see make it in to future releases.

Saved Chat History

Most instant messaging platforms have some form of chat history logging. The current problem with Chatter Messenger is that it doesn't retain any history of conversations. Sometimes it can be really useful to re-visit a conversation, to refresh your memory, much like with email. Also, some companies may even have a compliance requirement to record all communication. Another issue currently, is if somebody sends you a message and you close your web browser before reading it, the message is lost. If the messages were saved you could receive a notification next time you log in.

A good idea might be to log all Chatter Messenger conversations as threads under Private Messages, in a similar way to Facebook. As a final touch, the last 5 or so messages exchanged with somebody should be displayed when you start a new conversation. This helps to pick up where you left off with a previous a conversation.

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Chatter Messenger Logs (a la Google Talk, Microsoft Lync, etc.)
This has been delivered in Winter '13, see 'Chatter Messenger Enhancements' in the release notes.

Outlook Integration

Microsoft Outlook is an application I would imagine most employees have open all day, and until the recent introduction of tools like Chatter & Chatter Messenger, Outlook has been the primary communication tool for most businesses. Outlook currently provides integration with Office Communicator and Windows Live Messenger, which allows users to see current availability of others and start conversations straight from Outlook.

It would be great if Chatter Messenger could be integrated with Outlook in a similar way, to help improve user adoption of Chatter Messenger among Outlook users, and reduce the use of email for real-time communication.

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Chatter Messenger Integration with Microsoft Outlook

Global Display of Online Status

Online status on Chatter Messenger is currently displayed on user profiles, and on user specific pop-up bubbles in various places. To expand upon this the online status should be displayed anywhere that a users' name and picture is displayed, perhaps with the exception of reports and list views. See the example to the right, displaying the online status next to an account owner. Now it's quick and easy to see if the account owner is online, and ask him a question relating to the record.

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Chatter Messenger Global Display of Online Status

Availability on Mobile Apps

We have got Chatter Messenger integrated in to Chatter Desktop, the next logical step is to integrate it in to the mobile apps. Perhaps it should even be integrated in to Salesforce Touch?

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Chatter Messenger: Chatter Chat/Now for iPad, Desktop, and mobile Apps

Screen Sharing

This one is actually already on the roadmap, it's just yet to see a release date. Supporting end users day-to-day, I can certainly see the advantages of having screen sharing baked right in to Chatter Messenger. No need to request login access any more, just ask the user to share their screen, and solve their problem in real-time as they watch and learn.

Chatter Screensharing officially went in to pilot in Q3 2012. There is no mention of the feature in the Winter '13 release notes, so it's uncertain when the feature will eventually be released at this stage.

Read more about Chatter Screensharing
  • Susan Kridler

    As far as I can tell, the first feature listed above, for accessing chat history, has not really been offered, though the article says it has. The release notes for winter 2013 that are linked say to click on a clock icon, but I can’t find one anywhere. I can view message history, and old posts to groups, but even there I see no clock icon. I cannot see how to view history of chats with individuals.

  • Stathi

    Mark, the lack of configuration and features in their “One-to-One Chats” on Chatter DT, and just “Chat” in the browser when logged in, is mind boggling to me. Instant messaging is a HUGE part of collaboration, especially in customer support. Of course if you happen to be in a company that really pushed a full switch to Salesforce for everything… you have some folks who did just that, others who took one look and said no way, and others that do both. That is issue 1… Issue 2… not having a stand alone instant messenger, or simply integrated into one of the other apps STILL, TWO YEARS after you posted this article. Just blows me away. So my question is this, just WTF is wrong with Salesforce on the instant messaging issue???