Facebook Workplace upgrades target popular office chat apps like Slack

Big blue Workspace

Does it sometimes feel like it’s Facebook’s world and we’re just living in it? And maybe working in it? Sure does. According to Tech Crunch, Facebook’s Workplace social network is being used by 30,000 businesses. Not too bad for something just a year old. And Facebook is now expanding Workplace’s capabilities with a new desktop screen-sharing chat app, called Workplace Chat.

The new app will allow users to create chat rooms with up to 50 people, and tech crunch says a group video conference feature is due to go live in the next few months. That’s a pretty well-rounded business communications suite, and it’ll be taking aim at popular competitors like Slack, Zoom, Atlassian and others. Workplace Chat is out now for Windows and MacOS, and we have just one question: Is it OK to check Facebook while using Facebook’s work thing?

More Pluses than minuses

The march of the Alexa bots from Amazon continues unabated, and we’ve just put the latest Echo homehub to the test, and have come away impressed. Called the Echo Plus, the cylindrical device is an update to the original can-of-chips Echo design, but it features even more smarthome connectivity, including pairing easily with Zigbee devices like smart lightbulbs, light switches and wall plugs. It also comes in three finishes including black, white and silver.

What can we say? Amazon’s goal of making our homes controllable entirely by voice draws ever closer with the Echo Plus. DT’s Home Tech boss Kim Wetzel put the Plus to work, so check out her full review. The Echo Plus is available now for $150.

Monstrously good TV

Been hankering for the return of Netflix’s breakout thriller Stranger Things? Us too, and tomorrow’s the big day as Season 2 finally arrives, right in time for your Halloween party.

As such, we’ve got full coverage of all the new trailers, and even better, the entertaining and numerous conspiracy theories about the show. Is Will Beyers actually the bad guy? Is the Upside Down a figment of Eleven’s imagination? Is Barb really dead? What in holy heck is that giant monster hovering over Hawkins? And will Nancy ditch Steve Harrington for strong silent type Jonathan?

Anyway, Stranger Things really is as good as everyone says it is, so if you haven’t seen it yet, call in sick tomorrow, binge the whole first season and you’ll be all up to date at the Season 2 viewing party Friday night. Hey, that’s what we’d do.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.