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Home / Technology / Slack bridges emails with chat and improves calendar integration and search

Slack bridges emails with chat and improves calendar integration and search



Slack arrived more than five years ago with the courageous attempt to kill e-mails in the workplace. It's 2019, we're all still sending emails, and Slack may have made the emails even stronger. Fortunately, Slack has recognized that our email and calendar solutions are useful and should work more closely with the chat software. We saw this with the recent integration with Office 365, and now the company goes a step further by bridging emails and creating them directly in Slack Calendar.

Slack has built a new bridge between his service and email. If you have someone in your organization who refuses to use Slack, or if it is a new employee who has not yet logged into the service, you can still chat with him directly from Slack. In the coming months you can @mentify these people in channels or send them a direct message. These messages are forwarded to their e-mail inbox. Responses are returned directly to Slack, and the to and fro exchange will also turn into a full slack history if the person chooses to join Slack.


Unfortunately, this bridge is only enabled if administrators have deployed these Slack users inside an organization, so you can not just email them people. However, it is a first step towards a complete bridging of emails in Slack. You can imagine that in the future, Slack will allow you to send emails to contacts outside your company and then connect you directly through the messaging service. This could really help to transfer emails from a back-and-forth system to real-time communication.

This email bridge is just part of Slack's new enhancements, and the company is getting smarter with calendar integration. You'll soon be able to sync your Slack status with your Outlook or Gmail Calendar so that colleagues know when you're in a meeting or out of the office. Slack also recognizes when you're talking about creating a meeting and highlighting things like "today" that you can click to create a meeting in Gmail or Outlook.


Meetings are usually calls, and Slack is being launched to allow his partners, such as Zoom, Hangouts, and Webex, to show who's on the phone in Slack, and the ability to join quickly. All this is part of the deeper integration of Google Calendar and Outlook in Slack. If you've missed a meeting, Slack may even show a repeat in a general view. This smarter calendar integration should be available in Slack later this year.

Another important part of Slack is the search, and you can say it was not always easy to handle. Currently, you can search using the search box or execute shortcuts with Cmd + K or Ctrl + K to navigate in Slack. Both are now combined into a single universal search where you can find unread channels or direct messages and navigate quickly. This new search interface should be available in the next few weeks.


The last big improvement Slack makes is called "Workflow Builder". This is essentially a way that every Slack user can create a basic app for routine tasks without having to learn code. Amazon has taken similar action with Alexa Blueprints. For example, with Slack's approach, you can create HR forms, employee surveys, or even a welcome message for new employees. Slack users will undoubtedly find interesting ways to leverage this new functionality, and I think most will find it useful to organize lunches or appointments when everyone is free for a meeting. This workflow generator will be available later this year and a preview will be available shortly.


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