Today, Facebook announced that it will be releasing a new product that they have apparently been working on for the last 10 years. The project is being headed by Lars Rasmussen, the engineering director at Facebook. It’s called Facebook At Work, with just the name “Work” being the title of the apps for both iOS and Android. The main goal of this product is the compete with other enterprise social market services, like Yammer or SocialCast. The difference between this enterprise service is that it allows employers to create their own social network with the exact user interface of Facebook that employees are already used to, meaning that it will have a higher user rate, and it will be used more often, due to the simplicity and nature of the product.
Employers have the option to create separate username/passwords for all their employees if they choose to do so, or employees can link their existing Facebook account to their Work account, and post all from the same place.
Currently, the service is still in beta testing phase, and will be limited to a select group of businesses to start out. The iOS and Android apps should be released shorty this week in their respective stores.
The details about if the service will cost are very scarce. Some think that it will be a paid service charged directly to the employers. Others speculate that they will generate revenue through third-party ads, just like the giant social network is used to. I personally think the latter.
When describing how the service will function, Rasmussen said:
“When an employer adopts Facebook at Work, they can construct it with a set of new accounts. Users can then link their work and personal accounts together so that they are logged into both at the same time.”
This would work much like Groups and public profiles do today. On mobile, you would have two mobile apps running at the same time, he adds. “Even if the employee chooses to link there is no crossover. The content stays entirely within your personal or work Facebook.”
I think this is a great move on Facebook’s part, and I myself are for anything that enhances workplace communication and efficiency through technology.