Without fanfare, Facebook launched its new Work Chat app for Android in the Google store last week. While an iOS version is also going to be offered, Facebook gave no timetable other than, soon.
The app lets users message co-workers using an interface almost identical to Facebook Messenger; messages each be one-on-one or group chats. Users can make voice calls via Wi-Fi or cellular data and can use the app to share photos and videos.
The tool is part of an effort the company is making to generate a new stream of revenue from businesses. Facebook says approximately 300 business clients are currently users.
Work Chat is a new work-focused version of Facebook's social networking tools. The company plans to launch it officially by the beginning of next year.
Facebook tackling enterprise social software makes sense. That market is expected to see an increase from $4.77 billion in 2014 to $8.14 billion in 2019
Facebook at Work will compete with established players like Microsoft's Yammer and upstarts like Slack in the highly competitive area of workforce collaboration tools. Facebook has already landed a meg-client the Royal Bank of Scotland, which plans to have its 100,000 people workforce onboard by the end of 2016.Other customers include Hootsuite, Century 21, and Heineken USA.