Work chat service Talk.co shuts down

Work chat service Talk.co has been shuttered, according to the service’s web site, and other reports.

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Parent BranchOut — the ‘Linkedin within Facebook’ — grew quickly using spammish wall posts, but once Facebook blocked that technique the company — which had raised $49 million — saw its growth slow and little traction.

The story is that BranchOut is shopping its team and technology around, with Hearst supposedly looking at Talk.co’s tech team.

The back story is that other work chat products have been gaining more interest than Talk.co, which was launched a year ago. I wrote about the tool as a ‘minimum viable product’ in Real time isn’t what it used to be: It’s really real time, now:

Talk.co supports group chat between people in a given company, and limits membership to those with company email address, or Google apps accounts. Chat posts have images as attachments, but no other sort of files. Groups can be set up and people invited, so that topical chats can take place. Likewise a sidechat can be created on a specific topic with the members of an existing group. On the fly chats can be created with other users, either groups of one-to-one. There are no tasks, polls, or other niceties, although URLs in posts are clickable.

That’s it.

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The work chat marketplace has too many seriously developed competitors for a MVP to actually gain any serious market share. Note that in that article I contrasted Talk.co with Slack and Glip, both of which had more to offer. And I hate tools that block members that don’t have company email addresses: this is 2014, and freelancing is everywhere, folks.

But the problems at BranchOut are really not the fault of the minimal design of Talk.co, but instead were the result of building on top of Facebook, a very variable platform, and where Graph Search provides work information about contacts, one of the features that made Branchout popular in the first place.