January 15, 2015
Last June, an anonymous source at Facebook told TechCrunch that the company was building a workplace-oriented version of their ubiquitous social platform. At the time, Facebook declined to officially comment, but yesterday, speculation gave way to an Apple App Store & Google Play rollout of Facebook@Work. Though the download is available to anyone, the beta test group is limited to an exclusive group of enterprise users with at least 100 employees.
At its core, the Facebook@Work interface and functionality are the same as the commercial version, but the user’s network is limited to colleagues. Status updates, content staring, messaging, and groups remain the same, but adding and managing accounts is left to corporate admins. And, while users can share files, in-app editing is currently unavailable.
With this new offering, Zuckerberg and his team aim to shake up workplace communication and replace leviathan-like email threads with messaging and assorted tools. It’s clear Facebook has Slack, Microsoft’s Yammer, LinkedIn, and Google in their sights, but it’s uncertain how FB@Work will boost productivity or out-shine platforms like Robohead, and Basecamp, two great examples of project management systems that already allow for unified, straightforward communication.
Facebook hasn’t yet revealed pricing or monetization particulars, but Internet consensus suggests that paid subscriptions are a strong possibility. Regardless of pricing, given Facebook’s myriad of reputation challenges and general concern about cyberloafing, corporate acceptance may prove tricky.
A schedule for a full roll-out hasn’t yet been announced, but stay tuned. We’ll be sure to review Facebook@Work when it becomes available.
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