Slack’s new video and voice tools are a nod to the new face of work – TechCrunch

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Slack started talking about a new set of communication tools to improve text channels late last year. Today the company released a new audio tool called Slack Huddles and gave more details on a few other new tools, including the ability to leave a video message and an improved employee directory, which you can access from Slack. All of these seem to have been designed with the changing nature of work in mind.

Let’s start with Slack Huddles, the audio tool that lets you have a real-time conversation with someone in Slack instead of typing all your thoughts. It will be much easier for people who find typing difficult, but the company also believes it will allow for more spontaneous discussion, which mimics being in the office, at least to some extent.

“Huddles is a lightweight, audio way to communicate directly in Slack. [It] recreates the spontaneous and incidental interactions that occur outside of scheduled meetings, ”said Tamar Yehoshua, product manager at Slack, during a press briefing yesterday.

As companies continue to introduce more flexible work models, they will need to adjust the way they work. Huddles is one way of thinking about it, says Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield.

“Some things can be synchronous, but only take three minutes. Instead of [scheduling a meeting for] the following Tuesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and [using] the whole half hour because that’s what we planned, it’s two or three minutes now, ”Butterfield said.

And knowing that not everyone will be able to hear, the new tool includes real-time transcription.

The company has also been considering providing some sort of video message capability since last year. The idea is almost like a video voicemail or Instagram story where you shoot a short video and post it to Slack. “We have given it some thought and believe that by giving people a way to share and consume information in an expressive and asynchronous manner, we can enable people to be more flexible in the way they work and reduce the need to. video meetings, ”Yehoshua said.

The new feature will allow Slack users to play video, voice and screen recordings natively in Slack. People can record and download short clips to a channel or DM, “allowing others to watch and respond at their own pace,” she explained. While this feature is not yet ready for release, Yehoshua has indicated that it is under testing and will be available for paid teams in the coming months.

The last item is based on the acquisition of Rimeto, which Slack bought last year in an attempt to grow its business directory. The Rimeto product has in fact been transformed into Slack Atlas, a corporate directory that users can access directly in Slack, rather than switching to another program to find this information. It’s another way for Slack to keep users in Slack to find the information they need, without having to switch context. It’s currently undergoing limited testing with customers, but is expected to be available later this year, according to the company.

Slack first announced these tools last year, initially claiming they were experimental, but quickly moved them to the product roadmap. Butterfield appeared in a Clubhouse interview in March with former TechCrunch reporter Josh Constine, who is now a SignalFire investor to talk pointedly about the future of work, but he also went into more detail on these tools for the first time. time.

It’s hard not to wrap this discussion in the future of work, and indeed the future of Slack as part of Salesforce, which bought the communications tool for $ 27 billion last year. Work evolves, and Slack seeks to be an integral part of that solution, whatever the future.


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