Skype Previews Integration with Team Messaging Platform Slack
Following up on earlier announcements this week about new translation and group video calling capabilities, Skype today said it was releasing a preview version of a new integration with the team messaging platform Slack. The new feature allows Slack users to initiate joint calls with colleagues by typing in "/skype" during work chats and then clicking the "join" links that pop up.
Slack-integrated Skype calling is supported on the Web as well as on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. Microsoft-owned Skype said it will use the preview period to gather feedback from early users of the integrated service.
Earlier this week, Skype -- which just marked 10 years of providing Web-based video calling -- said it would begin previewing group video calling on Android, iOS and Windows 10 mobile devices. Yesterday, the company also said it had finished rolling out its live voice-to-voice Translator service to all of its Skype for Windows users.
Skype Integration Welcomes a 'Unicorn'
In a blog post today, the Skype team said the new support for Slack-based calls is part of its ongoing mission to "breaking down communication barriers and getting the world talking."
Skype had some 300 million active users as of November, according to recent data from the statistics portal Statista. Relative newcomer Slack, however, is also no slouch in the user department -- around 2 million or so every day.
In its first "Businesses at Work" report last summer, the online identity management service provider Okta said between May and August of 2015, Slack was "far and away" the fastest-growing app among its business customers. San Francisco-based Slack Technologies, which launched its online collaboration tool in August 2013, has also earned the distinction of being the fastest tech company to achieve "unicorn" status -- a firm that has reached a $1 billion valuation or higher, based on fundraising.
Slack Aims To Grow Developer Community
Slack provides an online collaboration platform for users on a range of operating systems, including Mac, Windows and Linux, as well as the iOS, Android and Windows mobile operating systems. The cloud-based software enables users to create open and private online channels for chatting with and messaging team members and sharing files.
A recently launched directory also shows that Slack already provides integrated support for a variety of different apps, ranging from Google Plus Hangouts, MailChimp and GoToMeeting to Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Lyft and Twitter.
In December, Slack also announced the launch of a new $80 million fund to "support and encourage developers to build apps that interact with Slack." The fund includes investments from Slack itself as well as from its investor-partners, Access, Andreessen-Horowitz, Index Ventures, KPCB, Spark and Social Capital.