On Tuesday at its annual F8 conference, the California tech giant announced that Workplace, the work-focused version of its famous blue social network, is launching dozens of new "integrations."
Facebook is teaming up with 50 new companies to integrate their software — from storage company Dropbox to Adobe — directly into Workplace, so that users can access them without leaving the app. And it's asking developers to register their interest — meaning more integrations may be on the way. (There were previously just 10 integrations.)
The announcements comes at an turbulent time for Facebook. The social network is battling with the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and is significantly locking down its platform to developers amid broader privacy concerns — to the chagrin of many developers. It's perhaps no surprise then that Facebook is making very clear that this is not the company throwing open the floodgates to anyone who fancies it.
"This is not an open platform, we're not opening the doors to everybody here," Facebook Workplace product manager Simon Cross told Business Insider.
Instead, developers who think they might be a good fit for an integration need to register their interest and then pass a rigorous review process, including an independent security audit. Facebook doesn't have a target for how fast it wants to grow the integrations available, Cross said: "We're prioritizing quality over growth."
It's a markedly different approach to enterprise chat app Slack, a close competitor of Workplace — which allows anyone to build integrations and bots for its service.
So how do Workplace integrations work in practice for users? Let's say your company uses Workplace to coordinate, while you use Box for storing most of your files and SurveyMonkey for doing online research. Using the Workplace interface, you'll be able to (assuming the integration is activated) search for your files and comment on them with coworkers, while SurveyMonkey might post automatic updates into groups that can be used as a starting point for team conversations.
The theory is that it saves time and boosts efficiency by bringing everything together under one (Facebook-owned) roof.
The integrations fall into three categories, Cross said: Sharing, notifications, and "transactional workflows." In the first instance, you might share files, or to-do-lists, or documents from another app with your colleagues.
In the second, your team might get notifications from apps you use to stay up-to-date — a category that includes feeds from news organisations (disclosure: Business Insider is one of the companies that has a Workplace integration, Cross said.) And the third category relates to chatbots that aim to speed up processes — talking to a chatbot to book time off, or to see your monthly paycheck.
"This is something our customers have been asking us for forever, and we're excited to be finally able to give them this range of integrations," Cross said.
Integrations include BlueJeans, Zoom, HubSpot, HootSuite, Adobe, ADP, Egynte, Business Insider, Kronos, Paychex, SurveyMonkey, Yahoo Finance, Smartsheet, Atlassian, Bloomberg, Google Drive, Box, Maketo, Cisco Webex, Vonage, and Dropbox.