With “Workplace,” Facebook Tries Again To Invade Your Office Space

Lots of people use Facebook to communicate with friends, but in spite of launching “Facebook At Work” nearly two years ago, the company has yet to convince many businesses that Facebook could be used to manage an office space. Today, Facebook is relaunching At Work with a new name and new features it hopes will be appealing to enterprise users.

Facebook At Work is now “Workplace,” and unlike the original app launched in early 2015, this will be available to any company that wishes to give it a shot.

The service is seen as a potential competitor for enterprise communications and management services already offered by Google, Snap, and others.

On the one hand, Workplace is intended to look and work like Facebook. You’d have a news feed, groups, chat, Facebook Live video, and even information on trending posts.

“This means you can chat with a colleague across the world in real time, host a virtual brainstorm in a Group, or follow along with your CEO’s presentation on Facebook Live,” explains the company in an announcement.

New to Workplace is the ability to create “Multi-Company Groups” to allow cross-coordination between businesses that are working together.

Like enterprise solutions offered by Google and others, Workplace is not free (unless you’re a non-profit or a school). However, Facebook is trying to differentiate its pricing by charging clients on a per-user, per-month basis.

So if you have a moderate-sized company with 200 employees who logged in and used Workplace in a month, you’d pay $600 ($3/user). A larger client with 2,000 employees logging into Workplace in a month would pay $4,000 ($2/user), while a huge employer with 20,000 logins in a month would be paying $20,000. But since you only pay for those who actually login and use Workplace, even a mega-sized corporation could use it on a very limited basis for a handful of groups or projects and not have to pay based on the size of its entire workforce.

The question remains: Will anyone bite? Since launching Facebook At Work in Jan. 2015, only 1,000 different organizations have signed on to that service. It’s not clear from today’s announcement if this small user base was a deliberate effort to beta test Workplace, or due to lack of interest.

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