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

Slack is working on a set of experimental features like sharing short videos and the ability to make audio-only channels for team members to drop into for casual conversations. Asynchronous video updates may appear at the top of channels and may resemble Stories short videos 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 teams working remotely today combat loneliness and isolation, and that long text messages don’t meet the need of the present moment to build community in the workplace. The new experimental features being tested will be introduced today as part of the annual Slack Frontiers developer conference.

News announced today follows a series of Slack outages Monday.

Slack launched Workflow Builder last year to give users quick ways to customize how apps work 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 integrate apps like Google Sheets, Jira, or PagerDuty, and automate workflows.

Also new today: Socket mode for developers to build apps behind firewalls, and the extension of Slack Connect for organizations to exchanges messages and files in direct messages. Slack Connect for 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 and share an invite in order to quickly get started with a client or partner.

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