Facebook is piloting an enterprise solution that helps employees collaborate, using newsfeed, groups, messaging, sharing of documents, sources tell CNBC.
The company officially declined to comment on a Financial Times report that it’s working on a Facebook At Work tool, but sources tell CNBC that it could launch such a product as early as a few months from now.
The company plans to keep the At Work experience totally separate from the rest of its tools, an acknowledgment that people see Facebook as being primarily for personal communication and may not want any crossover.
All the info within the Facebook At Work experience will remain there, and won’t be transferred over to your personal Facebook timeline, sources said.
The team testing this product is based in London, and it’s very early in the process, sources told CNBC.
For now, Facebook isn’t making any money off this. It’s not putting any ads on the pilot program, nor is it charging the pilot companies. Though it’s early in the test, the new product will likely be rolled out in the next couple of months, sources said.
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This would put Facebook in the same competitive space as the main business network: LinkedIn. But even more so this seems like a direct competitor to enterprise communication software such as Microsoft’s Yammer.
Why would Facebook want to make this move? Its tools, from messenger to groups, are exactly the kinds of things people are using in the workplace to communicate and work together.
The company has likely seen the way its own employees, and those at other companies, use these tools to work. And with so much workplace collaboration moving into the cloud with companies such as Evernote and Dropbox, Facebook probably sees a huge opportunity to get the 1.35 billion people who are already using its communications tools to use them in a professional context. Plus, this could create a new revenue stream, payments from companies who want ad-free access to the service.