Facebook says its workplace app should be out this year

Courtesy of Facebook

Facebook hopes to release its new workplace communications app by the end of the year, a company spokesperson tells Fortune.

Called “Facebook at Work,” the company (FB) has been testing the product with more than 100 companies since January. Facebook at Work, which looks similar to Facebook’s typical service, is geared toward sending messages to coworkers.

Facebook has been using this special version of its network internally for years, but news that it was being turned into a public product first surfaced in 2014. Facebook at Work be offered on a freemium basis, with an entry-level version available for free while more powerful features reserved for those who pay.

Facebook at Work will compete with several existing workplace communication apps, like Slack and Atlassian’s HipChat. Facebook’s competitive edge could be familiarity — there are few workers out there unfamiliar with Facebook’s interface. File-sharing service Dropbox took a similar step into the enterprise, as employees had long been using it on their own.

Facebook at Work could also challenge LinkedIn, often considered a kind of Facebook for professionals. While LinkedIn has long been known as a place to connect with workers outside your current company, it recently released an app called Lookup, which makes it easier for users to find coworkers based on their name, title, skills and so on.

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