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Soon you'll actually be allowed to Facebook at work

18 Nov 14

The Financial Times is citing anonymous sources claiming Facebook is working on extending its network beyond the social realm and into the professional world.

The product, called Facebook at Work, is designed to let people, well, use Facebook at work.

The company's new, enterprise-focused product will be similar to the functionality of its current site, with a news feed, groups and messaging capability. But where it differs from the consumer product, Facebook at Work will also include collaborative tools for work on shared documents.

Facebook at Work will be entirely separate from personal accounts, with no information from a user's social profile appearing on his or her professional page, and vice versa.

How much Facebook at Work would affect productivity in the work place remains to be seen, and Facebook will have to convince companies that their internal documents and conversations remain confidential.

Creating a new, separate network for businesses would bring the company into competition with Google, Microsoft and IBM, which all offer enterprise tools.

If Facebook is indeed working on an enterprise product, it’s facing tough competition with the likes of Google, Microsoft, Box, Salesforce.com, and LinkedIn.

Giving colleagues the ability to instantly message each other goes up against Salesforce’s Chatter, Microsoft’s Yammer, and Slack. Likewise, by offering businesses a way to collaborate on documents, Facebook at Work will be 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.

Tech companies fighting for an even larger slice of the pie are beginning to encroach on each other’s turf. Google wanted to jump on the social networking bandwagon, so it launched Google Plus. Similarly, Facebook wanted to become a player in search, in comes Facebook Graph Search. Meanwhile, Google and Amazon continue to battle it out in delivery services.

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