LinkedIn’s Tools To Connect Workers Goes Head-On With ‘Facebook At Work’

On the heels of my recent post titled, 'Facebook At Work,' Anti-Ts?, Anti-LinkedIn, Anti-Google+' that detailed Mark Zuckerberg’s desire to build a whole new network focused on collaborative tools for the business world -- this week, LinkedIn released some news that just might make him stop him in his tracks.

If not, and Zuckerberg follows through with his proposed plans, it looks like the users of both networks will be in the cat-bird seats for an upcoming smack-down between the two behemoth ecosystems.

As I conjectured previously, “in order for Facebook  to make any kind of dent into Linkedin’s foothold, it would have to distinguish itself in an area where that business network was lacking - namely, collaboration tools.” This means FB would have devise a set of tools that currently don't exist in the Land of LinkedIn.

. . . that was, until this week

LinkedIn, long the social network you came to rely on to spruce up your resume, find yourself a job, assist with lead referrals and allow you to head up and join a few business discourse forums — it now plans to make it easier for professionals to connect with their coworkers. Going beyond communicating with prospective customers, the network is building inner-office tools — including a new app that will allow employers and their employees to communicate internally.

Similar to what we’re being told about the prospective new ‘Facebook at Work,’ LinkedIn’s tools would work behind the corporate firewalls to allow co-workers to share privately, similar to what’s being done on other business apps such as Yammer and Salesforce Chatter.

According to Re/code report, the first product -- which LinkedIn will debut in a few weeks -- will enable users to send InMail (LinkedIn’s private email-like messages) to fellow coworkers, even if they are not connected. It will also encourage users to upload their contact information — emails and phone numbers — to a company database that will become visible to coworkers on the service.

Dissimilar to Yammer, and perhaps where ‘Facebook at Work’ might still have a leg-up over the business network, LinkedIn will not include a chat service with this new functionality. This is a fly in the ointment for Linkedin and something they might want to rethink.

The other product, which LinkedIn will start beta testing by the end of the first quarter is said to help companies share content directly with specific groups of employees. It’s LinkedIn’s hope this new form of direct and targeted sharing will lead to more re-sharing on the platform.

So while Facebook’s major challenge will be overcoming its previous negative perception of being banned from the workplace, it appears that LinkedIn’s major hurdle is that their new offerings to boost collaboration are a little bit less than robust.

The social networking paradigms are evolving as we speak with new business models like Tsu and Ello being added to the mix daily — so it would make sense that both LinkedIn and Facebook are in need of upping their game, before being overtaken by the young upstarts and a fickle user base that is constantly looking for the next shiny new thing. As far as going toe-to-toe with each other, it's tough to say who will be the victor, based on what limited data's been released so far.

What are your thoughts reader -- how do you see this turn of events unfolding? LinkedIn's got the experience, but FB is hungry to gain a foothold in a world that up till now wasn't too welcoming? They both have to enhance their offerings and come out fighting sooner than later, don't you think?