The Microsoft team blog made an announcement on 12th December regarding the Knowledge Network (KN) – a social networking tool that was due to ship as an add-on to SharePoint Server 2007. I wanted to call this out because I know people are still talking about KN as though it is a product that is going to ship this year, and figured perhaps they weren’t aware of the change in direction

The add-on is no longer going to be part of this version of SharePoint. Instead, a ‘technology preview’ will be available, intended for evaluation purposes only. The technology preview will not be a supported product

What does that mean? The likely reason is the technology simply isn’t going to be ready to ship any time soon, at least not in a stable format. Instead it will remain in development for release as part of the Office 14 release cycle (i.e. the next version)

Is it worth playing with the KN in its current form? The easy answer is ‘it depends’. (The short answer would be no). I’d recommend experimenting with the technology preview if you have the time and resource. It introduces an age-old concept in a new format – six degrees of separation. By exploring email trails between people, the KN can create a web of contacts, both internal and external to the organisation. When you do a search for information, you receive results based on the degrees of separation between you and the person with the knowledge. If the person is one degree away (i.e. you know each other), them you can contact them direct. If the person is 2+ degrees away, you can request an introduction via someone you know directly

I would be amazed/disappointed if Microsoft didn’t continue to develop this technology and further enhance it. How close the end result will compare with the current technology preview is anybody’s guess. I remember the early beta version of Windows Vista that was distributed at the Microsoft Profesional Developer’s (PDC) conference in 2003…

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Technorati tags: Knowledge Network; SharePoint 2007; MOSS 2007

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