Facebook revealed that it was working on creating a work-focused version of its Facebook Messenger to add revenue from businesses to its list of successes at the beginning of this year.
On Friday, Facebook quietly launched its new app Work Chat for Android, which allows users to message other co-workers using an interface very similar to Facebook Messenger. Employees are able to send messages to groups of co-workers or individuals.
Besides sending messages, the private social network app allows users to share videos and photos, use stickers and make voice calls. Just like with Messenger, those calls use Wi-Fi or cellular data rather than the telephone network; it can connect co-workers without using a shared telephone directory or requiring them to make international calls.
The app made its debut on the Google Play store quietly Thursday. Facebook told TechCrunch that they are working on the iOS version and that it will be available soon. However, an exact release date has not been provided.
It is important to note that people can only log into the app if they have a Facebook at Work account, PC World explains. And the only way to get one of those is to work for a company that Facebook has given the privilege of privately testing the application.
According to TechCrunch, hundreds of companies are a part of the Facebook at Work program and 300 businesses of all sizes are using it as of Friday. Customers include big guys like Hootsuite, Heineken USA, Linio in Latin America and the Royal Bank of Scotland, which plans to have 30,000 workers using Facebook at Work by March 2016 and all 100,000 workers by the end of 2016.
The enterprise version of Facebook looks similar to the original and includes its own website along with Facebook at Work mobile apps for Android and iOS (eventually). Users can even choose to link their personal account with their work account. And it offers other services like announcements, groups, document sharing, project collaborations, events and so on.
Facebook at Work will be a huge way for the social networking company to merge into the world of business collaboration. And it’s competing head-on with Microsoft’s Yammer and upstart Slack, PC reported.