Facebook's Workplace, now at 30,000 orgs, adds Chat desktop apps and group video chat

Facebook's Workplace, now at 30,000 orgs, adds Chat desktop apps and group video chat
From TechCrunch - October 26, 2017

Its been once year since Workplace, Facebooks social network designed specifically for businesses and other organizations, came out of beta to take on the likes of Slack, Atlassian, Microsoft and others in the world ofenterprise collaboration. Now, with 30,000 organizations using Workplace across some 1 million groups (more than double the figures Facebook publishedApril), Facebook is stepping on the gas again.

Today, the company is releasing a desktop app for Workplace Chat, with new features like screen sharing and, in coming months, group video chat, which will let people create virtual rooms of up to 50 people for interactive video conferences. Previously, the video features in Workplace were limited to live video broadcasts and one-to-one video conversations.

Alongside the new apps and features, Facebook is also updating the overall design of Workplace to simplify the interface and make it consistent across Android, iOS, desktop and web:

Workplace has positioned itself as the collaboration platform for everyone in your organizationnot just those who are so-called knowledge workers who are at desks most of the day. The idea is that everyone, from executive to barista to warehouse assistant, will find Workplace easy to use because, well, it looks and feels a lot like the hugely popular Facebook. However, the new desktop appsfor both PC and Macare a hat tip that there are, in fact, a lot of those desk-sitters using Workplace, too.

The two apps have been in beta for a little while, as spotted by my colleague Josh earlier this month. What was not known was Facebooks plans to put Google Hangoutsas well as Meet, the enterprise version of Hangouts that Google launched in Februaryin its crosshairs by adding in group video conversations.

When Josh spotted the beta of the Chat desktop app with screen sharing, Facebook said the app was made in response to what users were most requesting.

But just as important, another key reason is engagement. By adding in more features like screen sharing, desktop apps and group video chat into a Workplace experience, people are more likely to stay in Facebooks app rather than going elsewhere for those features.

(And there are many places to gonot least of which is Slack, which just yesterday updated its own screen sharing feature with the ability to edit on other peoples screenswhich had been a big feature of Screenhero, the startup it acquired to build it. Other competitors on the video chat front, ironically, include Facebook Messenger, which added in group video conversations with up to 50 guests last December.)

Engagement on Workplace is key, since Facebook charges for Workplace not by seata typical pricing metric for enterprise servicesbut by monthly active user(based on number of users, and the features you want, the charged tiers range between $1 and $3 per MAU).


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