Facebook, the social media network, has been a place to post political rants and share vacation photos, but now the company wants to become a place where work gets done.
Facebook is developing a new networking website called "Facebook at Work," Financial Times reports. The new website will reportedly be a mix of the networking site LinkedIn and Google Drive. The new product will let users chat with colleagues, connect with contacts, and collaborate over documents. The new site will look like the current version of Facebook, with newsfeed and the ability to create groups.
Facebook employees have been using the site for some time, according to the report. After internal discussions about expanding the company, Facebook began developing the site in the past year for an upcoming launch. Financial Times cited sources close to the project, but Facebook has declined to comment.
The enterprise software market is growing rapidly. Gartner Research firm estimates that the enterprise software market will be worth $321 billion in 2014. That's up 6.9 percent from last year. Some small start-ups have made headway into the industry. Yammer, an enterprise social network, was purchased by Microsoft for $1.2 billion in June. Slack, a platform that allows for workplace collaboration, was launched in February and, by October, the company was valued at $1.1 billion, according to Business Insider.
Then there are industry giants such as LinkedIn, Google, and Microsoft. LinkedIn has 90 million monthly users, Google Drive has 120 million users, and Microsoft Office has 1.1 billion users. And Facebook is going to have to find a way to gain part of the market share. Facebook currently has 1.35 billion users. It's believed that the upcoming site will be free to users, which could boost the amount of time employees spend on the site.
Though users spend an average of 40 minutes a day on the social network, Facebook has had a hard time entering the workplace. Many companies ban the website in the office because of concerns about productivity. Facebook at Work will separate personal and work profiles, but Facebook will have to show businesses that the new site won't lead to workers spending hours messaging with friends and looking at photos.
In July, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the company has a lot of room to grow, and maybe this is part of what he was referring to.
"There's a big opportunity to improve the way people connect and share," Mr. Zuckerberg said.