WordPress.com launches new P2 to take on internal communication tools – TechCrunch

WordPress.com, a division of Automattic, is launching a new product called P2. And this time it’s about improving internal communication for private groups. As a remote company, Automattic has been using P2 internally for years to communicate asynchronously. It’s a place to share long posts, a repository to keep onboarding documents and other important evergreen documents.

P2 is based on WordPress. You can think of it as a kind of WordPress for teams, heavily tailored to the concept of sharing ideas with other team members. Companies today rely on several internal communication tools. P2 can replace some of them, but doesn’t want to completely reinvent the wheel.

For example, P2 is not a Slack competitor. You can’t use it for real-time chats. But P2 can be used to share important announcements – the kind of announcements you find on an intranet portal.

Photo credits: WordPress.com

You can also use it for long-term projects and create your own P2 especially for your team. In this case, P2 competes more directly with Facebook or Yammer’s Workplace. To make it more useful for asynchronous communication, P2 has some features that make it more useful than a simple WordPress blog.

For example, you can @mention your coworkers to send them a notification and follow posts for updates. You can also create checklists, embed PDF documents, stick important posts at the top of the homepage and keep track of what happened in your absence. There are special menus to view new posts, new comments, and mentions you’ve received.

While you can theoretically access the classic WordPress backend, you can write new posts, edit existing posts, and write comments without ever having to leave P2. The company uses the new block editor that allows you to visually add headings, lists, video embeds, and media. It works a bit like Squarespace’s or Notion’s editor, and it makes a lot of sense to have the new editor right next to the content you’re viewing, commenting on, etc.

For content that always remains relevant, you can create documents, i.e. pages without a specific publication date and without comments. These documents are sorted in their own category and can easily be shared across the company. You can use documents for internal guidelines, guides, or important contact information. Many companies rely on Google Docs and Google Drive shared folders for these types of documents. P2 could potentially replace these shared folders and become the main information store.

By default, P2 sites are private, but you can make them public in case you want to share updates about your product with customers or use P2 for public events.

If you are familiar with the WordPress ecosystem, you may already be familiar with a WordPress theme called P2. The new P2 announced today is a new product that takes this idea to the next level. Automattic has repeated the concept and used it widely with its 1,300 employees at 912 internal P2 locations.

WordPress.com will offer hosted P2 instances. Anyone can create a P2 for free and invite other people. Finally, WordPress.com plans to offer paid subscriptions for more advanced features. In other words, P2 will be a software-as-a-service product. In the future there will also be a self-hostable open source version.

I’ve played around with a couple of P2 instances and the overall impression is that the complexity of WordPress is hidden by default, which is good. It’s a clean and focused product that would work especially well at the point where corporate email and announcements get lost in Slack.

Photo credits: WordPress.com

June 15, 2021