#Facebook Developing ‘#Facebook at Work’ Service, Says Report

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Facebook is apparently testing a
product called Facebook at Work,
designed to let people, well, use
Facebook at work.

According to anonymous sources
speaking with The Financial Times,
the new service would be
completely separate from
Facebook’s consumer product. The
FT says the service would allow
users to message their colleagues,
connect with other people in their
professional network, and
collaborate on work.

Facebook declined to comment for
this story. But if the company is
indeed working on an enterprise
product, it would challenge a long
list of big-name rivals, including
Google, Microsoft, Box,
Salesforce.com, and LinkedIn.

The level of one-upmanship in
Silicon Valley has been relentless
recently, as tech companies like
Facebook, Google, and Amazon—
already dominant in their
respective fields—fight for an even
larger slice of the pie. In doing so,
they’ve begun to encroach on each
other’s turf. Facebook wanted to
become a player in search, and so
there was Facebook Graph Search.
Google wanted in on the social
networking trend, and so, it
launched Google Plus. Meanwhile,
Google and Amazon continue to
battle it out for supremacy in same-
day delivery.

Facebook’s interest in the
enterprise is just the most recent
example of this type of competitive
expansion. As a business-centric
social network with the ability to
instantly message colleagues, it
would go up against Salesforce’s
Chatter, Microsoft’s Yammer, and
the red-hot messaging tool Slack.
By offering businesses a way to
collaborate on documents, it would
be simultaneously competing with
Google Docs, Box, and Dropbox. And
as a way of establishing social
connections in the workplace, the
tool would also become a challenger
to LinkedIn.
It’s hard to tell, at this point, how
Facebook would differentiate itself
from these formidable incumbents.
The Financial Times reports that
although users of Facebook at Work
will be able to keep their personal
accounts separate, the site will
include Facebook staples, including
groups and News Feed. And yet, it
may be a challenge for Facebook, a
company intent on tapping user
data for advertising purposes, to
convince businesses that their
internal documents and
conversations will remain
confidential on the site.
But the tool makes sense for Mark
Zuckerberg and company. As a
consumer product, Facebook has to
compete with every other app on
the market for users’ already
limited attention. But if Facebook
could be the engine running the
workplace, then it would have a
captive audience, which would
make the platform all the more
appealing to its true end users —
advertisers.

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