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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.”

Date

12 Jan 2021

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

    BLACK FRIDAY GAMING LAPTOP DEALS: JUMP TO...

    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.

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    Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals (US): quick links

    The best Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals in the US

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    Gigabyte Aorus 15P YD | $2,399 $2,199 at Amazon
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    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
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    Asus ROG Strix G513 | £1,599 £1,249 at Amazon
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    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. 

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    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. 

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    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.

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    Box: a large inventory of Asus, Acer, and HP laptops at competitive prices
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    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

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    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
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    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

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    Incredible battery life
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    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

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    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)

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