Facebook brings Workplace Chat to the desktop with voice chat, unlimited file sharing

Facebook's newest Workplace Chat app has options like screen sharing that could help streamline enterprise communications.

Video: Why BlueJeans CEO is betting big on the future of Facebook Workplace in the enterprise

Facebook Workplace is launching a desktop version of its Workplace Chat app to help the more than 30,000 organizations using the service communicate faster, according to a Thursday blog post by Julien Codorniou, VP, Workplace.

The messaging feature looks and acts like Facebook Messenger, giving businesses a familiar way to communicate within their organization's Workplace. The new chat app also has voice chat, screen sharing, polls, and unlimited file sharing. A group video chat option is planned to come out within weeks, according to the blog.

SEE: Instant Messaging Policy (Tech Pro Research)

"Increasingly, we've found that many customers rely on messaging for real-time, reliable communication," Codorniou wrote.

In addition to the desktop chat feature, Workplace is revamping its look, opting for lighter colors and cleaner symbols. Codorniou wrote that the redesign is based on user feedback, with a focus on easy connection and navigation.

The Workplace Chat app is the first Workplace-related desktop app, with the chat service already available on mobile and on browsers. The desktop app is available now on PC and Mac, while the mobile app can be found on Android and iOS.

For existing Workplace users, the app will allow for communications to be streamlined and in one spot along with their company's groups in the service. It lets teams in different spots or those with remote workers to work together in real-time, regardless of if they're on the go or at their desk.

But it faces competition from other messaging systems, like Slack, for business use. Since it is so similar to the preexisting Facebook Messenger, the new app may not have enough to set it apart to convince users to switch platforms.

Workplace has added multiple features since it was created one year ago, including live video and groups with people from different organizations. The service offers several integrations, including Office 365 and G Suite, while also allowing users to build their own custom integrations.

"We envision Workplace as an employee's command center for everything that's happening with their team, their company, and their industry," Codorniou wrote.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Facebook Workplace is rolling out a desktop chat component, available now via app for Mac and PC.
  2. With an incredibly similar look to Facebook's Messenger, Workplace Chat offers polls, screen sharing, unlimited file sharing, and voice chat, with group video chat on the way.
  3. While a convenient communication option for existing Workplace users, the app faces competition from other messaging systems and may not have enough standout features to pull businesses away from their current setup.

Also see

Image: Facebook