Facebook at Work, the social media firm’s new workplace product, has been in closed beta testing since January, but the pilot program has apparently almost reached its end. In an interview with Re/code, Julien Codorniou, head of Facebook at Work, said the company will launch a freemium version of the interoffice network before the year end.
Extensive beta testing
Facebook at Work is very much identical to the social networker’s main app, and has been designed to facilitate internal communications at the workplaces between employees. The company has planned to introduce it for some time. A version of ‘Facebook at Work’ has been used internally at Facebook for the past several years, and around 15 months back reports regarding building a similar tool for other companies started surfacing.
Around 100 companies are using ‘Facebook at Work’ as part of the beta, and the numbers are growing, said Codorniou. Moreover, several of those companies have already started the process of expanding the product internally. Heineken has already put the product to test with 40 of its top executives, and plans to expand it to all 550 employees in the U.S. by the end of September. Linio, a Latin American e-commerce company, also plans to expand use of the product internally from 200 employees at present to 2000 employees by month end.
Facebook’s monetization plans
Facebook obviously wants to make money from the new product as well, but this time it won’t take the ad-dominant approach. Instead, it will offer businesses a free version, and make them pay for extra features or analytics associated with their accounts. The company is still in the process of deciding what features it will offer for free and what features will cost money, said Codorniou. Facebook’s approach is expected to be similar to Slack, who charges the users for things like archiving messages and extensive product support.
It is not yet clear when the company will launch Facebook for Work. Whether the company will be able to convince companies to forgo their existing office products is also not very clear for now. The fact that corporate consumers have archived the messages and documents of several years on their existing communication tools adds to the doubts, but Facebook will try its best to convince them of the benefits of its new product.