Facebook to unleash a free version of its Slack killer, Workplace

Facebook wants to be your Slack, now, too.

The behemoth social network has made a “coming soon”-style announcement to tout a free version of its Workplace service, a tool for businesses to keep their employees connected and chatting about work stuff right on Facebook, Fortune reported Friday.

The actual tool isn’t new. Facebook released a paid version of Workplace last year. Facebook sees an opportunity to keep businesses, small and large, local and international, on its platform throughout the day.

What’s Workplace do? Think about everything you do on Facebook but more professional, and sprinkled with human resources. The free version of Workplace, called Workplace Standard, will offer one-to-one and group voice and video calling, streaming video, and chat, according to Fortune. This version does not include IT administrative and monitoring features and does not include integration with other applications like Google’s G Suite.

“The vision of Workplace is to connect everyone,” Vanessa Chan, Facebook’s communication lead for Workplace, said in a statement.

“This means people who work only on mobile, on the go. This means large companies with distributed workforces. This means small businesses. This means companies in developed and developing markets. Workplace Standard will make Workplace more accessible and make it simpler for businesses of all sizes across the world to get started,” Chan said.

IMAGE: FACEBOOK

Facebook’s service competes with the likes of other popular work-centric chat programs like Slack and Microsoft’s products.

Facebook may have an advantage over those companies because nearly 2 billion people already know how to use the platform’s tools, Aaron Levie, CEO of enterprise cloud service Box, told Mashable last year.

“That’s a rare phenomena in enterprise software. I think they have a huge leg-up and advantage because of that,” Levie said. Box has collaborated with Facebook since the early days of the initiative and has an integration with the service.

Facebook did not reveal a clear timeline. A spokesperson told Fortune the free version would come “soon.”

This post was updated with more details from Facebook.

By Kerry Flynn

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