Slack is one of the more popular messaging suites for workplaces, even if a chunk of its market share is being eaten into by Microsoft. In a bid to take on this, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield said in an interview with The Verge that the company may look to add a host of new, interesting features to the app. While not offering a definite roadmap or laying down timelines, Butterfield stated that the new features for Slack may include scheduling messages, better notification control, and even a feature that may replicate the Instagram Stories or Snapchat format of disappearing content, in a bid to better organise populous groups.
It all sounds interesting, especially in a world that is steadily gearing up to work from home more extensively. For those who regularly use Slack, the app’s interface does come across as an interesting yet professional layout, augmented by bots that can be put to use for various purposes. Slack also employs a large number of features and integrations, all of which can come together to make it a robust collaboration ecosystem. However, Slack has been facing plenty of competition of late, and in recent times, has been somewhat overrun by Microsoft’s ambitious expansion into the enterprise communication segment, with Microsoft Teams.
According to The Verge, the scheduling messages feature is likely to be the farthest along in terms of development, and may be the first of the many new features to be rolled out. Apart from this, the rest of the information is somewhat speculative. Butterfield reportedly made a fleeting mention of giving users “more control over notifications”, which can honestly mean a wide number of things. At its most obvious, better notification control may include instant reactions to messages as quick responses, or snoozing of important messages to be read later. The other feature, which aims to replicate the Instagram Stories format, also sounds pretty interesting.
In a way, the latter feature falls in line with what Butterfield mentioned in the podcast as “asynchronous audio visual communication”. In other words, putting disappearing images and audio snippets can significantly alter group communications without cluttering the thinking board. This may allow interested parties to share work in progress snippets or fleeting ideas for people to ponder over, and once the purpose is solved, the piece of message would self-destruct. All of these features, once laid out in a more concrete manner, may help Slack to catch up with Microsoft’s AI-driven charge towards workplace chat domination.
Butterfield also stated that he does not view Slack as one to compete with Zoom or Google Meet, which is an interesting stance to take. With work from home no longer an alien concept, the need for video conferencing solutions would be enormous going forward. Will Slack still be right to stay away from the video conferencing space? Only time will tell.