Facebook testing Workplace Chat apps app for Mac and PC

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Social networking monolith Facebook quietly launched beta versions of dedicated Facebook Workplace Chat apps for Mac and PC that incorporate screen sharing, as well as the usual list of basic chat client features.

Discovered buried in a Facebook FAQ on Thursday by TechCrunch, the new desktop chat app is currently restricted to users of the company's Workplace enterprise collaboration tool.

The beta app, dubbed Workplace Chat, appears to function similarly to the identically named Workplace Chat website, and boasts the same text chat and media sharing capabilities. In addition, Facebook is building in support for screen sharing, which is rolling out both in app and on the web.

"This was one of the most widely requested features by customers, so we built it," Facebook spokesperson Vanessa Chan told the publication. "The desktop app is still in beta and being tested by Workplace customers who are providing feedback that we'll use to improve the product before a wider rollout."

According to Facebook, the app supports voice and video calling, screen-sharing, customized push notifications and one-to-one and group chats.

As for the new screen sharing feature, TechCrunch notes users can elect to share their entire desktop workspace or only certain app windows, a key consideration that benefits user privacy.

Facebook is quickly building out its Workplace feature set after launching the service last October. Designed to rival collaborative services like Slack, Workplace allows users to build custom profiles, view ad-free news feeds, create multi-organization groups, make audio and video calls, and host live video broadcasts.

The company charges $1 to $3 per user depending on the size of a host organizations, and offers the product as a free service to non-profits and schools.

Users looking to try out the new Workplace Chat app can download Workplace Chat for Mac via the firm's website. The app requires macOS 10.9 Mavericks and above to work.