Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) may have the dominant social networking site, but it isn’t content with having one, it also aims to conquer territories that other sites have already charted and established for themselves. In a report by the Financial Times, unnamed sources have said that Facebook is in the process of working on a website called “Facebook at Work”.
The new site, according to the report, will be very much the same in appearance with the current Facebook site, but it will allow users to connect with professional colleagues and share and collaborate on documents in the same way that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Google Drive does. There will be a separate area within the page for a users personal matters where private photos, silly posts, or funny videos are kept unshared with professional contacts and colleagues.
A report by Wall Street Journal, citing a source with knowledge of the matter, indicates that ‘Facebook at Work’ could be available by January next year. It is now being tried by a few companies while details are still being worked out. Its first entry to the workplace will see the site free of ads as well as free of charge, and it will be available only to users whose respective companies have signed up for its service. ‘Facebook at Work’ will also be a competitor to other work-collaboration sites such as ‘Connections’ of International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM), ‘Yammer’ of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and ‘Slack’.
Furthermore, with some 1.3 billion users around the globe, Facebook’s new site can very well position itself in direct competition with LinkedIn, a networking site that is popular with job seekers and recruiters. A commentary in Forbes notes that indexing by Google of professional profiles in “Facebook at Work” will make the site a direct challenge to LinkedIn. Observers, however, also maintain that Facebook still has to gain the trust of workplaces. The Wall Street Journal report, for instance, noted that a survey by Software Advice regarding Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) found respondents raising concerns about the site’s “unacceptable” privacy policies.
A report by MarketWatch, on the other hand cites Adam Levine of Theft 911, a company focusing on online security, as saying that several IT departments have actually blocked Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) from the workplace because employees spend too much time in it, in effect harming productivity. A research conducted by Kansas State University, the report adds, found that about 60% to 80% of work time have been lost to surfing the net for reasons not related to work. Still, familiarity will also be a big help for the new Facebook site, and given the number of users it already have, which undoubtedly include company employees, transition to the new professional ‘Facebook at Work’ will be effortless and not really much of a work.
This article has been written by Nonito Guntan.