Finally, Facebook unveils its ‘Facebook at work’ apps for trial partners
Two months back we had reported that social networking giant Facebook is secretly working on a new website called “Facebook at Work” to get a foothold in the office. This move if successful would allow Facebook to compete directly with established players in the office enterprise segment, namely Google, Microsoft and LinkedIn.
Now the company is finally launching new iOS and Android apps called “Facebook At Work,” along with a version of Facebook at Work accessible via its main website, which will let businesses create their own social networks amongst their employees that are built to look and act like Facebook itself, reports TechCrunch.
Employers can create separate log-ins for employees to use with their Work accounts, or users can link these up with their other profiles to access everything in one place.
“We’re putting the app into the app stores so that we can begin testing the product,” Lars Rasmussen, the engineering director who has been leading the London based Facebook at Work team said in an interview.
Facebook has already been running tests of the service with “a very small set” of external businesses around the world, according to Rasmussen. The aim initially will be companies with 100 or more employees. Rasmussen said that the idea was developed because Facebook employees began gravitating away from email and towards the social media network for their internal communication.
Rasmussen also added that the company has effectively been working on FB@Work for the last 10 years. The long-time usage and familiarity are part of what makes Facebook confident that it can carve a place for itself in a market that already is very crowded.
“Facebook at Work’s strength is that we’ve spent ten years and incorporated feedback from 1 billion active users,” he was quoted in TechCrunch as saying. “All of that is embedded now in the same product but adapted for different use cases.”
“When Mark [Zuckerberg, the CEO] makes an announcement he just posts it on Facebook at Work,” Rasmussen added.
Here are some of the key points about the service, Rasmussen told TechCrunch:
Pricing - If the service is made free, then Facebook could potentially drive a lot more users to its wider network. According to the report, Rasmussen would not rule out advertising which suggests that Facebook could consider tiers of its own where some businesses may pay for the product and have it ad-free, while others might take it free and get ads.
How it will work - Rasmussen said that when an employer adopts Facebook at Work, they can construct it with a set of new accounts. Users can then link their work and personal accounts together so that they are logged into both at the same time. This would work much like Groups and public profiles do today. On mobile, users would have two mobile apps running at the same time.
Sharing and editing - According to the report, users can share documents but for now there will be no in-app editing “currently.”