Facebook Developing New Social Network For Professionals

Chuck Bednar for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Facebook is reportedly working on a secret new productivity-related website that will allow users to chat with co-workers, connect with their professional colleagues and collaborate on documents online with other users.
As first reported by Hannah Kuchler of the Financial Times on Sunday, the website will be known as “Facebook at Work” and according to what sources told her, it will look to compete with Google Drive and Microsoft Office.
Sources told Kuchler that the website will still look like the traditional Facebook, and will still feature groups and a newsfeed. However, it will allow users to keep their personal and professional files separate from one another.
“Facebook employees have long used the site in their daily work and expanding this to other companies has been discussed internally for some time. The project began in earnest during the past year and is now being tested with companies as its launch approaches,” she said, noting that the social network declined to comment.
As Laura Mandaro of USA Today noted, “A site that would allow users to chat in select groups and collaborate over shared projects would be a direct competitor to… Microsoft’s Office 365 offering, which operates off the cloud,” and that Google Drive’s shared document capabilities and LinkedIn’s focus on connecting users with future jobs, employees and clients could also be seriously challenged by Facebook’s new social network for professionals.
According to Scott Campbell of The Telegraph, the Facebook at Work concept was first discussed earlier this year when media reports surfaced quoting members of the development team as stating they were looking at making work “more fun and efficient” by building an on-the-clock version of the popular social media website.
While it is not clear when Facebook at Work will launch, Campbell said the plan is to release it on the web and mobile platforms (including Android and iOS) and to offer if for free at launch (though that is apparently subject to change). Reuters notes that Facebook’s own employees have already been using the site during their daily work duties for a considerable amount of time, and that it was now being tested with other companies.
“To become an integral part of office life, Facebook will need to win the trust of companies and organizations, which will expect to be able to conduct confidential conversations and share important information on the site, without it falling into the hands of rivals,” Kuchler said. “Many companies, concerned about falling productivity as employees spend work time checking personal messages and internet gossip, currently ban Facebook from the workplace.”
She added that the decision to offer the service for free to begin with “will boost the amount of time spent on the platform, as employees previously banned from using the site in the office may now be encouraged to use it. Facebook generates the vast majority of its revenue from advertising, and the longer people spend on the site, the more opportunities it will have to show adverts.”
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