‘Facebook At Work’ Apps Hit App Stores, Priming for Public Release

The office is where Facebook seems to have eyes set for next as it seeks to enter the enterprise world with the release of a ‘Facebook at Work’ app that is set to hit app stores on Wednesday. Very few companies, according to Facebook, are currently testing the app but the company is strongly continuing its efforts it began late last year.

This new tool works and looks strikingly similar to Facebook’s current social media network, but the software is still in its early stages according to the company. ‘Facebook At Work’ will allow employees in larger companies and corporations to collaborate through this new private social network or mobile app. There are some important changes made for this new collaboration tool though. Most notable is the removal of advertisements and the company’s claim of no data mining or user tracking. Corporate profiles are also kept separate from users’ private profiles.

Unlike many other enterprise tools the service is familiar to users and the company also offers up Groups, one of the key features of the new app. Facebook believes this valuable asset could replace e- mail list that can often become unmanageable over time.

It has yet to be seen how the adoption rates of this new tool will perform. Facebook is used to growing entertaining products, using data from its users to sell ads to its vast following. This is quite the opposite from the strict security that is used by corporate offices to secure its sensitive information. Facebook isn’t exactly known for its excellent privacy policies  and therefore must work even harder to prove to chief information officers that the security for these apps and interfaces is there.

The company is also entering into a market that already has seen some strong contenders. Microsoft acquired enterprise social network, Yammer, in 2012. Slack, a self-coined “team communication for the 21st century” tool, was recently valued at $1 billion. The competition is steep.

This new service was recently expanded from fewer than a dozen test companies back in November to a wider audience. It is unclear when the service will actually launch to the public as details are still being determined by Facebook. The app will be launching on both the iPhone and Android in the App Store and Android Stores, respectively.

It seems Facebook will need to do some considerable marketing to CIOs in these coming months leading up to a public launch, proving that while familiarity is an excellent thing for employees, the security must be there for the company.

Written by: Paul Savage, Jr.

Source: [http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2015/01/14/facebook-at-work-hits-app-stores/]


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