Facebook Just Upgraded its Slack Competitor Chat App
Facebook’s software for chatting at work just got upgraded.
The social networking giant said Thursday that it renamed its chat app to Workplace Chat, putting it more inline with its existing Workplace business service.
Workplace is essentially a version of Facebook’s social network that businesses can subscribe to for a fee, similar to competing workplace collaboration tools from Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), and Atlassian (TEAM). Non-profits or educational institutions, however, can use Workplace for free.
Facebook (FB) said its Workplace Chat service is now available as a desktop computer app, as opposed to only a mobile app. Facebook Workplace product manager Simon Cross said that a desktop version of the chat service was the most requested feature from its customers.
Additionally, in the next few weeks, Workplace Chat will debut the ability for users to do group video chats, similar to Google Hangouts or Microsoft’s Skype for Business service. Up to 50 people will be able to join a video conference call, Cross said.
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By pitching its revamped enterprise chat service, Facebook joins the list of companies like Google, Cisco, Microsoft, and others that have recently debuted similar chatting features in light of the popularity of the startup Slack. Technology analyst Patrick Moorhead questioned the need for another chatting service on Thursday, especially one built by Facebook.
Cross contends that Facebook’s chat service is easier to use than competing services because of its similarity to Facebook Messenger, which he said is used by 1.3 billion people monthly to communicated with each other.
Cross also said that 30,000 organizations now use Workplace, a jump from April when the company said that 14,000 organizations were using it.
Still, Cross did not say how many of the 30,000 organizations were paid subscribers.