Facebook at Work will available to everyone soon

Steven Loeb · December 11, 2015 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/41fb

So far the workplace collaboration service as been invite only, and signed 300 clients

Facebook at Work, the workplace collaboration service that the company launched to compete with the likes of Yammer and Slack, has been around for a while now. So far, though not many are using it, and that has been by design as the company tests it out.

You might start seeing more of it soon, though, as Facebook will be launcing the full version in the next few months, according to a report out from Reuters on Thursday.

It will also be coming with some exclusive features that don't exist for the regular service, such as security tools, Julien Codorniou, director of global platform partnerships at Facebook, told Reuters.

This will come around a year after Facebook at Work was first released, in pilot mode, in January of 2015. Since then it has been invite only, and roughly 300 enterprise clients signed up, including Heineken, Stella and Dot, and Century 21.

In October Facebook at Work signed up its first bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland. Facebook at Work will be rolled out to 30,000 of the bank's employees by March of next year. By the end of next year its other 70,000 employees will be signed on. Those 100,000 users will also make the Royal Bank of Scotland the service's largest client yet.

Once it opens up, Facebook plans to charge a small amount for premium services on Facebook at Work, such as analytics and customer support.

First reported all the way back at the end of 2014, Facebook at Work is meant to have a similar look and feel to Facebook's pre-existing product, with features that we've all come to know and love, such as groups, NewsFeed, events and messaging. The big difference with Facebook at Work is that it does not have advertising, nor does it track user data.

Rather than be a competitor to LinkedIn, and allow users to connect with any professional contact, Facebook at Work is currently only focused on intra-company sharing, and creating collaboration between co-workers, at least for the time being. That makes it more of a competitor for services like Google and Yammer.

Its most interesting competition comes in the form of Slack, the company that has been one of the fastes rising stars in the tech world recently. Out of seemingly nowhere, the workplace collaboration tool raised its $120 million round last October, suddenly becoming a unicorn. Then it raised another $160 million valuing it at nearly $3 billion.

There were 1.7 million daily active users on Slack in October and 470,000 paid seats, up from 1.1 million daily active users and 300,000 paid seats in June. 

Facebook does have one big advantage: its enormous user base, which includes over 1.2 billion people, as well as familiarity with its product. Those two things should be a big help in propelling it forward and allowing it compete.

There's another interesting component to this: the company has, so far, not taken full advantage of its most powerful resource: it's huge 1.44 billion monthly user base. Instead of copying the Yammer model, in which it would pitch to employees, who would invite others to join, creating word of mouth inside a company, Facebook is taking a top down approach. Facebook at Work has been pitched to the top brass at companies, getting them to buy into the solution, and then distribute it to employees.

There is no word on whether this model will change once the service is open to all companies.

VatorNews has reached out to Facebook for confirmation of this report. We will update this story if we learn more. 

(Image source: inforum.com)

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