The new, work-focused social networking experience from Facebook is launching today, TechCrunch reports. Accessible via the main Facebook site, but also packaged into an Android and iOS app called “Work,” the new service will be available as part of a limited roll out while Facebook tests everything out.
According to the report, businesses will be able to create their own Work networks and give access to their employees. From there, posts and messages can be shared among that limited network, walled off from the rest of Facebook. The service sounds very similar to Microsoft’s Yammer, another work-focused social network, which itself seems to ape some of Facebook’s best features for a limited group of people.
There are questions as to whether or not Facebook will begin to charge businesses for the pleasure of creating their own Work networks. Right now, it’s free (to those who have access – again, it’s being slowly rolled out it seems), but advertisements and apps could make their way into Work in the same way they’ve infiltrated regular Facebook.
Facebook’s Lars Rasmussen, who is project lead on Work, explained that a version of this service has been in place at Facebook’s corporate headquarters for a decade already:
“Facebook at Work’s strength is that we’ve spent ten years and incorporated feedback from 1 billion active users. All of that is embedded now in the same product but adapted for different use cases.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, says Rasmussen, even uses Work to make announcements to the company. If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.
The upshot here is that you may find yourself on Facebook while at the office a lot more than you already are, if that’s even possible. The catch, of course, is that you may be stuck in a virtual office while you’re also physically at the office. In short, you will never escape your job now that Facebook at Work is coming your way.