- Facebook has won over Walmart as the newest customer for Workplace, Facebook's business chat solution, TechCrunch reports. Walmart, the world's biggest employer, could potentially put the entirety of its 2.2 million-strong workforce within the social media giant's reach.
- The move is a big one for Walmart, says TechCrunch. Workplace allows users to share pictures between stores for product displays, conduct newscasts via Facebook Live and oversee international communications via the app's automatic translation capabilities.
- But the announcement is equally huge for Facebook; the world's largest social media platform is looking to compete with Slack, HipChat and others in a growing but increasingly crowded market. Workplace sprang from a closed beta about a year ago and has since attracted 14,000 businesses, per TechCrunch.
In April, Facebook announced a slew of updates to Workplace, including integrations with popular apps like Box, Dropbox and Salesforce. The company seems to recognize what employers have come to realize: seamless information sharing and collaboration are absolutely essential in the modern office.
And the innovation within this growing B2B segment hasn't been limited to Workplace. Slack, another widely used service, recently announced its intent to double down on machine learning capabilities. The applications are many, but the key focus is on improving the pace and frequency of communication between segments of the workforce. Over time, these providers may aim to overtake email as workers' preferred communication method.
But there are concerns among workers, particularly with respect to privacy. In one survey, workers who used chat apps said they were worried about the lack of guaranteed privacy with respect to their conversations on such platforms, something that seems justified given reports of companies listening in on chat rooms in order to gauge productivity, satisfaction and other metrics.