Facebook Workplace, the social media site's answer to Slack, is growing steadily. A year after launching, it now services 30,000 different organizations, up from 1,000 a year ago and 14,000 six months ago.
That's a significant amount of growth for what's predominantly a premium service, but the company wants more.
To entice newcomers, it's launching new Workplace features such as a group videoconferencing tool — coming in the next few weeks for desktop and mobile — and a standalone desktop chat app, so users can communicate with others without the need to keep Facebook open as a browser tab.
Facebook Workplace vs. Slack
Facebook constantly experiments with other products like Workplace, but the ones that fail to get any significant traction slowly fade away in the background, like Lifestage and its standalone apps for Groups. The mere fact that Facebook is adding more features to Workplace means it's a huge boon for the company despite its evidently slow start. Will it ever be a Slack killer, though? This past September, Slack was being used by 6 million people every day, and 2 million are paying the app's premium tier.
By contrast, it remains uncertain just how many of Facebook Workplace's 30,000 organizations are paying ones. The company rolled out a free version earlier this year and offers it to nonprofits and educational institutions. Facebook also isn't sharing the total number of users — just organizations. This makes it hard to tell exactly how many are using the service.
Even more unknown is just how much money Facebook is making from Workplace. So there's not really much to glean on, making it difficult to compare with Slack. Of course, Facebook hasn't always been that willing to disclose profits and revenues — it doesn't report earnings for Instagram, for example, but that business is probably making a lot of money.
Why Is Facebook Taking On Enterprises?
Still, as Recode notes, Facebook's efforts to go deeper into enterprise are interesting, because it's just one of the many moves by the company that helps make it more than just a social network. Silicon Valley folks know that to stay in business, one needs to be more than what they originally started with. Apple, for instance, is branching into original programming. Google's hardware is getting better. Amazon is making rockets and setting up brick and mortar locations thanks to its Whole Feeds acquisition.
Facebook Workplace is a mere part of the whole parcel, and Facebook has to hope it grows more steadily growing forward. Slack needs to act up as well, lest it becomes a tragic Silicon Valley tale.