Slack tests video sharing and audio-only channels to connect remote workers

Slack is working on a set of experimental features, like the ability to share short videos and make audio-only channels team members can drop into for casual conversations. Asynchronous video updates may appear at the top of channels and resemble the short videos or Stories made popular by Snapchat and copied by Facebook apps. LinkedIn introduced short videos like Stories for its workplace social network in the U.S. last month.

“Everybody has to work together. There’s a lot of information you have to get over the wire really quickly, and sometimes writing all of that out can take a lot more time than just taking a quick video, putting it in a channel. And then your colleagues can just watch those videos maybe with their morning coffee or doing the dishes or some other time when they don’t have the exact intensity of attention that you would need for reading a large text update,” Slack director of product Jaime DeLanghe told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

She said the new features are designed to help team members who are working remotely combat loneliness and isolation. DeLanghe added that long text messages don’t meet the current need to build community in the workplace. The experimental features being tested will be introduced today at the annual Slack Frontiers developer conference.

Today’s announcements follow a series of Slack outages Monday.

Slack launched Workflow Builder last year to give users quick ways to customize apps, so you can for example add a line to a Google Sheet document if a specific action is initiated. DeLanghe said 25 million workflow builder tasks have been created since launch last year, primarily by nontechnical workers. Updates out today give teams and businesses more ways to automate workflows and integrate apps like Google Sheets, Jira, and PagerDuty.

Also new today is Socket mode, which allows developers to build apps behind firewalls, and the extension of Slack Connect that lets organizations exchange messages and files in direct messages. Slack Connect, which enables up to 20 partner organizations to speak in channels, launched in June. Slack Connect Direct Messages uses the same security and encryption as the Slack app. Users only need to share an invite link to quickly get started with a client or partner.

Unlike text messages, the experimental video feature does not grant users the ability to assign tasks or automate workflows.

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