FACEBOOK IS BEST KNOWN for social networking, but it does have another guise in the form of its white-label service for organisations known as Workplace by Facebook.
At a recent press event in New York we were given details of the latest additions to the service which have just been made public at the company's Flow conference.
Although it might not have the profile of Slack or Microsoft Teams, Workplace by Facebook is growing at quite a clip, boasting three million paying users, three years after it was spawned out of Facebook for Work - with a million added in the last eight months, alone.
The news that grabbed the attention was, oddly, something that Facebook wanted to downplay slightly, but it's the most significant, and it involves Facebook's Portal video-calling device, which was recently launched in the UK.
Workplace by Facebook is now available as an app for Portal. That means that you can use a Portal on your desk, in your home, or indeed anywhere else you can find one to make video and audio calls using your company's Facebook Workplace.
Facebook has said that there are no plans for a dedicated Portal device for Business, nor would it be heavily pushing the option at this early stage, but it's there and functionality will be expanded.
Unlike Facebook which is one big "thing", Workplace is created as individual instances for customers - it is, literally, like having a private version of Facebook for your teams.
That means that your data isn't shared with Facebook ‘proper' and most importantly, isn't used to sell you stuff.
Privacy campaigners have cringed at Portal, but the fact that you are creating an entirely separate "instance" of yourself with the Portal app means that at least some of those concerns will be tempered.
Also new at Workplace for Facebook is a feature that automatically adds subtitles to uploaded videos and even produces a transcript.
Elsewhere, for managers, there's now AI that can gauge worker sentiment in order to make sure that messages are being received and received well. We're not sure if that's not the creepiest thing we've heard of outside China.
Workplace by Facebook argues that it is able to create wider company engagement as its something that everyone can access, with permission. That means it can reach people like contractors and freelancers who don't have company email accounts.
It also makes itself incredibly easy to learn - after all, if you know how to use Facebook, you know how to use this - and that's a pretty big argument in its favour. µ
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