Tech & Work

Facebook launches Workplace, targets business users with new look

After an 18-month beta program, Facebook officially launched Workplace, in hopes of changing how professionals collaborate online.

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Image: Facebook

On Monday, Facebook officially launched Workplace, its communications and collaboration platform for professionals. The service launches with 1,000 organizations as its customers, including major corporations like Starbucks, Campbell's, Danone, and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Whispers about an enterprise product from the social media giant began back in late 2014, rumored as Facebook for Work. Workplace was in use at Facebook, internally, for quite some time before the company began to test an external version.

The product was in beta for roughly 18 months but was formally released at a launch event that took place in London. The official website said the goal of Workplace is to change the way you work.

"Connect everyone in your company and turn ideas into action," the website said. "Through group discussion, a personalised News Feed, and voice and video calling, work together and get more done."

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Workplace is actually separate from a traditional Facebook account, so employees won't need to have an existing account to participate. Additionally, the platform is free of advertising, according to the website. Users "follow" other users, instead of adding them as friends, so each employee won't have to see every post from every other employee at their company.

Similar to products like Slack, part of Workplace's appeal is that it will potentially reduce the number of emails an employee has to deal with on a daily basis. As such, it will likely compete heavily with the chat platform.

Much like the traditional Facebook, Workplace offers a groups feature so that updates and communication can more easily be shared among the right set of people. However, it also offers Multi-company groups, to make it easier to communicate between companies. So if one company is working on a project for another, as part of a contract, it will be able to more readily update that company on its progress as it happens. The Multi-company groups are invite only.

There's also a News Feed tool, where users can comment or like an update, along with a Work Chat feature, Live Video integration, and Search. Administrators get access to user and group activity and reporting for specific data.

The mobile app, called Work Chat, has access to groups but is more focused on chat, voice, and video calling. The Workplace website also outlined its Trust Principles to explain its approach to security.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Facebook officially launched Workplace, its new platform for enterprise collaboration.
  2. Workplace allows for collaboration between groups with an organization, or between multiple companies, which could be good for consultants and certain businesses.
  3. Workplace, with a heavy focus on chat and collaboration, will likely compete heavily with Slack.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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