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Workplace from Facebook has a cunning plan to conquer the collaboration market

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Workplace may be one of Facebook’s lesser-known offerings, competing for air-time with the likes of WhatsApp and Messenger, but the social media giant has big plans for its business collaboration platform

While there are many rival offerings on the market (Slack, Teams, Asana etc.), all of whom will have had a stellar year thanks to the rise of remote working, Workplace is distinguished by its unique heritage, with roots in consumer social media.

In a lot of ways, using Workplace is exactly like browsing Facebook. And according to Ujjwal Singh, Head of Product Strategy at Workplace,  this sense of familiarity is something the firm plans to further capitalize on this year.

“We are very much built in a similar way to Facebook. And that’s one of our core value propositions,” he told us. “People know what a ‘reaction’ is, what a ‘like’ is, what a ‘news feed’ is and they’ve seen people ‘go live’ on Facebook. So there isn’t a large learning curve associated with Workplace.”

“The stated mission of Facebook is to connect people and build community around the world. Applying that same mission to businesses is an interesting proposition - and it’s in our DNA.”

Asked whether he thought some people might baulk at the idea of spending their working days chained to an interface they associate naturally with play, he explained that Workplace is also very careful to set the proper boundaries.

Users do not log into Workplace with their consumer Facebook account, for instance, and nor do the two services share an application. Workplace leverages Facebook infrastructure, but is also at pains to stress that customers own their own data on the platform, which is not wholly true of the consumer service.

The key, Singh says, is in finding the right balance.

Facebook comes to Workplace

One of the main benefits of sitting underneath the Facebook umbrella is that features trialled, tested and perfected on the consumer platform tend to trickle down into the business service - and sometimes vice versa too.

“Any innovation on the consumer side we look to add into Workplace as well,” Singh explained. “It’s not about copying pixel by pixel from consumer, but more about hand-picking features and porting them over in a way that makes sense for work.”

As if to highlight this process in action, Workplace has today announced two new upgrades that are straight out of the Facebook playbook.

The first is a new multi-host option for the platform’s live broadcast feature, which has its origins in Facebook Live. Now, companies can broadcast to large audiences in a Q&A or panel discussion format, bringing in both internal and external speakers as “co-hosts” on screen without the need for a whole production team.

Facebook Live and its Workplace equivalent share the exact same underlying infrastructure, which means the latter is able to scale to the same heights as massive consumer-centric broadcasts. “For a big firm like Walmart to go company-wide is no problem for us, because on the consumer side we have Kim Kardashian broadcasting to her fans,” joked Singh, but his point is a serious one.

Workplace from Facebook

(Image credit: Workplace from Facebook)

The second new addition is a feature that allows companies to take a register check of employees in the event of a safety incident, such as an office fire or virus outbreak. Since 2014, Facebook users have been able to “mark themselves as safe” in the aftermath of natural crises or terror incidents, and now the same is true of Workplace.

“No two safety incidents are the same. But if there’s one commonality, it’s the need for employers to be able to check on and clearly communicate with impacted employees quickly. New message types and multiple messages will enable organizations to better tailor their crisis response to the situation,” Workplace explained in a press release.

These new features, according to the company, are just a preview of what’s to come in 2021.

The future of work

With vaccine rollouts gathering steam, some will allow themselves to fantasize about a return to a working life that looks a little more like normality as we knew it pre-2020. But where might this leave the platforms that have risen from obscurity in the interim to become household names, in response to specific needs created by the pandemic?

Commentators are divided on the question; some believe the pandemic has had a transformative effect on the world of work, while others think we may look back on the period in a few years as if it were some awful dream.

As you might expect, however, Singh is confident of the long-term prospects of businesses like Workplace, which have so obviously gained from wholesale changes to ways of working.

“We’ve seen ten years of innovation and changes within one year, and that’s not going away,” he said.

“We continue to be excited about the mission of bringing people together and building company culture. Those needs might have been emphasized by the pandemic, but they’re going nowhere any time soon.”


12 Jan 2021



Other Blog

  • AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D CPU could be in short supply when it launches

    AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D, the new 3D V-cache processor revealed at CES, may only be produced in small numbers when it lands in early 2022 – and the chip may remain thin on the ground until the second half of the year rolls around, going by the latest from the rumor mill.

    This comes from DigiTimes (via PC Gamer), which reports that TSMC, which is making the 5800X3D, is only expected to kick off with ‘small-volume production’ of the processor, according to the usual industry sources in the know. However, the report also makes clear that production could ramp up considerably when TSMC’s new packaging plant in Chunan (Taiwan) goes live later in the year (supposedly in the second half of 2022).

    So, while everyone is (rightly) cautious about the potential amount of stock when it comes to many new PC components at launch, it appears that the Ryzen 7 5800X3D could be particularly shaky to begin with – perhaps for the first few months of the CPU being on shelves (or not, as the case may be).

    At least if this report is correct, anyway; and note we certainly must be cautious on that score, as DigiTimes isn’t always the most reliable media outlet.

    Analysis: Could 3D V-cache turn out to be a rather ineffective stopgap?

    We – and a good number of other folks, no doubt – were a little taken aback when AMD’s CES 2022 3D V-cache refresh turned out only to involve revamping the one model. However, if there are rumblings from the supply chain rumor peddlers that AMD could struggle getting enough of just the 5800X3D out there, then it’s no real surprise that Team Red didn’t also see fit to push out a 5900X3D or a 5950X3D (or any other variant, for that matter).

    We know that component shortages are making life difficult for AMD (and everyone else) anyway, certainly for the first half of this year, and as PC Gamer points out, the company has to prioritize enterprise chips (Epyc) to a large extent at the high-end as these are big profit spinners.

    We mustn’t read too much into this as we’ve already mentioned, but if this does pan out to be the truth – or something close to it – it’ll leave this 3D V-cache overhaul looking like a rather ineffective stopgap measure against Intel’s impressive new Alder Lake chips. AMD’s Zen 4 processors are still a good way off, and not due until later in 2022, after all (and Intel’s next-gen Raptor Lake will arrive around the same time as them, or thereabouts, too, so Team Blue won’t be standing still).

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  • Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals 2021: early sales and what to expect


    Cyber Monday is right around the corner on November 29, and there are already a ton of amazing Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals. The holiday shopping season is in full swing already, and there are so many excellent deals out there. But, wow there are a lot of them.

    Just like every other year, retailers everywhere are cutting the prices on the best gaming laptops, and pretty much every popular model is going to have some kind of deal somewhere. If you're not intimately familiar with what makes a good laptop this makes it extremely stressful to shop for one. 

    Luckily here at TechRadar, not only are we digging through all the Cyber Monday deals to find all the biggest savings, but we're also using our laptop expertise to provide helpful advice. That way, when you're going out to buy one - whether for yourself or a loved one - you can spend less time worrying about specs and more time celebrating the season. 

    So, keep reading to find the best Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals that are already up. And be ready, because there are going to be even more when Cyber Monday officially arrives later this month. 

    Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals (US): quick links

    The best Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals in the US

    MSI GS75 Stealth gaming laptop, Core i7, 16GB RAM, RTX 2060: $1,749 $1,349 at Amazon
    Order the MSI GS75 gaming laptop with a 17.3-inch 240Hz display, Intel Core i7, Nvidia RTX 2060,16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD for $400 off from Amazon. This is a good choice to play games at medium settings.

    Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED $2,999 $2,299 at Newegg
    The Gigabyte Aero 15 OLED is not only incredibly powerful, with its 11th-gen processor and RTX 3080, but it's also incredibly sleek, making it an easy pick for any creative professionals too. And that OLED display will make any game absolutely pop. And ahead of Cyber Monday you can save a whopping $700 on this laptop.

    Gigabyte Aorus 15P YD | $2,399 $2,199 at Amazon
    If you're looking for a gaming laptop that packs a serious punch without worrying about silly things like "portability" and "battery life" the Gigabyte Aorus 15P will absolutely destroy every game you throw at it. And you can save $200 ahead of Cyber Monday.

    Razer Blade 15 Advanced 2020 $2,599 $1,785 at Amazon
    The Razer Blade 15 is one of our favorite laptops every single year, and the 2020 version is no different. Both the CPU and GPU are one generation old at this point, but it's still more than enough to power the amazing 300Hz 1080p display. And, at just $1,785, this is a great deal on a premium gaming laptop.

    Alienware m15 R4 | $2,399 $2,099 at Amazon
    The Alienware m15 R4 is not only a premium gaming laptop that'll tear through any game you throw at it, but it's also just our favorite gaming laptop, period. It's both beautiful and powerful and you can save more than $300 ahead of Cyber Monday at Amazon. 

    Black Friday gaming laptop deals (UK): quick links

    The best Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals in the UK

    Asus TUF Dash FX516PM | £1,019 £899 at Amazon
    The Asus TUF Dash FX516 isn't the most premium gaming laptop in the world, but with a fast 144Hz display, an RTX 3060 and a Core i7 processor, it's an excellent little gaming laptop, especially when  you can get it at such a big discount ahead of Cyber Monday. 

    Asus ROG Strix G513 | £1,599 £1,249 at Amazon
    The Asus ROG Strix G513 is one of the best gaming laptops you can get right now, packed with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 and a top-end AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX. The best part is that ahead of Cyber Monday you can get it for just £1,399.

    Acer Nitro 5, AMD Ryzen 7, 16GB, 512GB SSD, RTX 3060: £1,099.99 £949.99 at Amazon
    Save £150
    You can get gaming for less thanks to this incredible Acer Nitro 5 laptop, packed with an RTX 3060 GPU that gives you features like DLSS and raytracing to enhance your playing experiences.

    Acer Nitro 5, Intel Core i5, 8GB, 512GB SSD, RTX 3050 Ti: £899.99 £749.99 at Amazon
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    If you're not looking to play the latest AAA titles, but you want a budget gaming device with the latest hardware then this Acer Nitro 5 could be exactly what you need. Plus, that RTX 3050 TI still gives you access to framerate boosting DLSS, giving you more power for your money.

    Acer Nitro 5, Ryzen 5, 16GB, 512GB SSD, RTX 3060: £999.99 £849.99 at Amazon
    Save £150
    RTX 3060 gaming laptops are perfect for playing the latest game thanks to that boost from DLSS, and raytracing will make even the blockiest of games pop. This Acer Nitro 5 is ideal for people who want to game on a budget, but without sacrificing quality.

    ASUS ROG Strix, AMD Ryzen 7, RTX 3050 Ti, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD: £941.04 £879.99 at Amazon
    Save £61.05
    Asus is known for making some seriously flashy gaming laptops, and this ROG Strix is no exception. With plenty of RGB lighting and the latest RTX 3050 Ti GPU, you can run your favourite games and see every frame thanks to that 144Hz display.

    Acer Predator Triton, RTX 3060, Core i7, 16GB, 1TB SSD: £1,399.99 £1,199.99 at Amazon
    Save £200

    The Acer Predator series is one of the best-known PC gaming lines, and for good reason. You're getting an RTX 3060 GPU, the latest 11th gen Intel i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, making this not only suitable for playing the latest games, but also streaming them too.

    Cyber Monday Gaming Laptop buying advice

    What kind of gaming laptop specs do I need?

    When it comes to buying a gaming laptop, whether its on Cyber Monday or any other time of the year, it all comes down to what you plan to do with it, and which games you plan to play with it. 

    Because while an expensive device like a Razer Blade 15 with an RTX 3080 is super attractive, it's frankly overkill for people that just want something to play Paladins with their friends. For those people, something like the Asus TUF Dash F15 is going to be the perfect fit: it's light and portable, but powerful enough to play esports titles at high, competitive frame rates. 

    But if you really do want the power to plow through AAA titles like Far Cry 6 with ray tracing enabled, that's where something like the Razer Blade would come in. Especially if you want to play at a higher resolution, you're going to want something with a ton of graphics horsepower. 

    When will the best Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals start in 2021?

    Cyber Monday will fall on November 29th this year, but as always we expect there to be plenty of activity on the prior weekend before the big day itself. It's likely there will be a number of continuation sales from Black Friday carrying over throughout the weekend, although Cyber Monday proper should herald a fresh wave of deals and price cuts. Subsequently, it's often prudent to wait until Cyber Monday if you spot a deal to your liking over the weekend - just in case it gets further discounted. 

    Where will the best Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals be?

    You'll find all of the best Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals all rounded up right here on this page during the big day itself - so you needn't search around yourself if you don't want to. That said, if you do want to fly solo or bookmark a few retailer pages ahead of the event, then here's a quick roundup of the retailers we expect to offer the best gaming laptop deals over Cyber Monday.

    In the US:
    the biggest inventory, but also flooded with third-party sellers
    Best Buy: huge selection, with compelling choices for all budgets
    Walmart: super-cheap options, watch out for third-party sellers
    Dell: good if you're on a budget, plus powerful Alienware laptops
    HP: great budget Pavilion machines, plus high-end Omen laptops 

    In the UK:
    large inventory, but beware of upmarked third-party sellers
    Currys: exceptionally competitive choices for all price ranges
    Dell: excellent budget options, as well as hefty sales on Alienware laptops
    Box: a large inventory of Asus, Acer, and HP laptops at competitive prices
    Laptops Direct: often has great clearance sales, watch out for old stock

    Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals: Asus Zephyrus G14

    (Image credit: Asus)

    Should I wait for Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals?

    This is going to solely rest on how badly (or quickly) you need to get your hands on a shiny new machine. If you can wait, then we'd strongly advocate waiting until the Cyber Monday and Black Friday events as that's generally when the juiciest sales on laptops tend to crop up.

    If you don't think you can wait until the end of November, however, then it's a good idea to check in with the ongoing Back to School sales and the upcoming Labor Day sales. Both these events are a great opportunity to snag yourself a machine before heading back to college, although we don't expect either to quite reach the frenzied heights of Cyber Monday when it comes to overall discounts, so bear that in mind.

    Another fantastic option is our roundup of the best cheap gaming laptop deals, a handy money-saving guide that's updated every week. At any time of the year, it'll feature our top picks for value from leading retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, and Dell, among others. If you're looking to save and you simply can't wait for Cyber Monday, it's definitely your best bet for a bargain.

    3 best gaming laptops to watch out for on Cyber Monday

    Razer Blade 15 (2021) on a white background. The gaming laptop is open, and there's a colorful background with the Razer Logo in the center. It's very colorful.

    (Image credit: Razer)

    Razer Blade 15

    The Razer Blade always goes on sale for Black Friday

    CPU: 11th-gen Intel Core H Series | Graphics: Up to GeForce RTX 3080 | RAM: Up to 16GB or 32GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD 360Hz, QHD 240Hz (G-SYNC) or 4K OLED Touch | Storage: 1TB PCIe

    Still the best trackpad in a Windows laptop
    Excellent performance in a beautiful design
    Short battery life

    Alienware m17 R4 at an angle on a white background. The gaming laptop is open, with a screenshot of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. You can see the right-side ports, along with some ventilation.

    (Image credit: Dell)

    Alienware m17 R4 (2021)

    Big. Powerful. Beautiful.

    CPU: Up to 10th Generation Intel Core i9-10980HK | Graphics: Up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 | RAM: Up to 32GB DDR4 2933MHz | Screen: 17.3" UHD 60Hz 25ms 500-nits display | Storage: Up to 4TB SSD + 512GB SSD

    Blazing fast performance
    Stylish chassis with plenty of ports
    Battery life of less than 3 hours

    We love the Alienware M17 because it combines extreme gaming performance with a beautiful 17-inch display. And while it's definitely not as thin and light as a Razer Blade, this large laptop is still pretty easy to carry around with  you wherever you go. And, Dell is usually pretty good at putting its Alienware laptops on sale for Black Friday, so now might be the time to jump in on it. 

    Read the full review: Alienware M17 R4

    Asus Zephyrus G15 on a white background, with the ROG logo on the display. The gaming laptop is at an angle.

    (Image credit: Asus)

    Asus ROG Zephyrus G15

    Desktop-replacement performance

    CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H – 9 5900HS | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 – 3080 | RAM: Up to 32GB | Screen: 15.6-inch QHD (1440p), 165Hz, 3ms, 300 nits | Storage: 1TB

    Outstanding performance, especially for the price
    Incredible battery life
    Lack of webcam might disappoint streamers 

    Right now, the Asus Zephyrus G15 is ranked as our best gaming laptop - and it's not hard to see why. It's thin, light and sleek while also packing enough power, thanks to the AMD Ryzen 9 chip housed within. And, while this is a very expensive device, we usually see at least one flash sale on Black Friday for an Asus Zephyrus laptop. If that happens this year, our advice is to jump on it as soon as you can.

    Read the full review: Asus ROG Zephyrus G15

    Read More
  • Are Google Chrome’s RAM-eating days finally numbered?

    Google Chrome is a notorious RAM-hog, but it looks like engineers are working hard to finally fix this.

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  • The new iPad Air does, indeed, hit 100% much faster with a charger upgrade

    Now that we've completed our iPad Air 2022 review, we have a bit more time to get into the weeds of what this tablet can do.

    One of the gripes we had in the shakedown was that Apple only puts a 20W charging block in the box of one of its best tablets. Now, we know we should be grateful for any block at all, given they've been dropped from the iPhone series, but it doesn't feel large enough.

    But we did have the 30W MacBook USB-C charging block available to test (which costs $49 / £49 / AU$69), so we thought that we'd give that a run down comparison - here are the results:

    A graph of two charging speeds

    NB: The iPad Air 2022 was still at 7% when we began the 20W test, and has been corrected to match the 30W, which was used with the iPad completely dead. (Image credit: TechRadar)

    As you can see, the 30W charger (in red) charges faster than the linear juicing speeds of the in-box 20W option (in blue).

    The 30W charger managed to get the iPad Air 2022 to 100% in just over two hours (2:11, to be exact), where the 20W achieved full power in 2:40.

    That's a pretty hefty difference in actual fact - when we first went to write this article, we were expecting to bemoan the charging speed of one of the best iPads.

    It's also interesting to note that the first half hour is quite different too -  the 20W charger got the iPad Air to 12% in 15 minutes, and 25% in half an hour. 

    With the 30W block, it was 15% and 31% in the same timeframe - if you look at the graph above, you can see that the Air is able to get a lot more juice quickly with the faster charger.

    So, while it might sound obvious, it definitely pays to get the 30W charger, as it does make a clear difference to your iPad's charging speed. And you don't always need to go for Apple's own brand if you want to save money, either.

    If you're thinking of buying a new iPad Air, check out Lance Ulanoff's 24 hours with the iPad Air 2022 - it's a brilliant read and has a truly stunning speed sketch in it.

    Read More

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