Your prayers have been answered.
Facebook has finally released a beta version of Workplace Chat, a desktop messaging service for businesses. The new messaging service is essentially a competitor to Slack and is part of Facebook’s Workplace for Desktop suite.
The beta version of the chatting app is currently available for machines running Windows 7 and above and macOS 10.9 and above. It allows users send individual and group messages in a window that won’t get lost among browser tabs.
The Workplace Chat interface looks very similar to that of Facebook Messenger. The two share a number of features in common, including default emojis, nicknames, and search in conversation. The similarity follows suit with Workplace itself, which features Facebook staples such as profiles, groups, and a company News Feed.
Workplace Chat also comes with a screen-sharing feature. Users can share full screens with their colleagues, and they can also share views from a specific app. Essentially, you can share your Excel spreadsheet windows with a co-worker without having to reveal the cat video that’s playing on your desktop.
Workplace Chat marks Facebook’s first foray into desktop software in a long time. Facebook has been heavily focused on mobile development for the past year, with almost all of its most recent features from Crisis Response to Snooze and Bonfire targeted towards smartphone use. Freeing Workplace Chat from the confines of a browser may actually allow Facebook, a procrastination tool for so many, to begin inching its way into office life.
If your operating system is up to date, you can download the beta here, though it won’t be particularly useful unless your coworkers have it too. Facebook has not yet announced when it will release the final version.