Slack is bridging email to chat, improving calendar integration and search

Slack arrived more than five years ago with the bold attempt to kill email in the workplace. It's 2019, we're all still sending emails, and it's possible that Slack has even made emails stronger. Fortunately, Slack has realized that our email and calendar solutions are useful and should work more closely with your chat software. We have seen this recently with the integration of Office 365, and now the company is taking a few more steps to link the email and the calendar directly in Slack.

Slack has built a new bridge between his service and email. If you have someone in your organization who refuses to use Slack or is a new employee who has not yet registered for the service, then you can chat with them directly from Slack. In the coming months, you can send a direct message to these people on the channels or send them a direct message, and send them to your email inbox. The answers will return directly to Slack, and the round-trip exchange will also be transformed into a full Slack history if the person decides to join Slack.


Unfortunately, this bridge is only enabled if administrators have provisioned these Slack users. an organization, so you can not simply free people by email yet. However, it is a first step to fully unite the email to Slack. You could imagine that Slack could allow you to send emails to contacts outside of your organization in the future and then connect directly through the messaging service. This could really help move the email from a system back and forth to communications in real time.

This email bridge is just one part of Slack's new enhancements, and the company is becoming much smarter about how it handles calendar integration. Soon you can synchronize your Slack status with your Outlook or Gmail calendar so your colleagues know when you're in a meeting or out of the office. Slack will also detect when you're talking about creating a meeting and will underline things like "today," where you can click to create a meeting in Gmail or Outlook.


Meetings usually have associated calls, and Slack leaves. to allow its partners such as Zoom, Hangouts and Webex to show who is on the call within Slack and the ability to join quickly. All this is part of the deeper integration of Google Calendar and Outlook in Slack. If a meeting was missed, Slack could even show a replay in a common view. This smarter calendar integration should be available at Slack later this year.

Another big part of Slack is the search, and it's fair to say that it has not always been easy to manage. Currently, you can search using the search box or execute quick commands from Cmd + K or Ctrl + K to browse Slack. Both are now combined into a single universal search where you can find unread channels or direct messages and be able to navigate quickly. This new search interface should be available in the coming weeks.


The last big improvement that Slack is achieving is something that the company calls "workflow generator". It is essentially a way to allow any Slack user to create a basic application for routine tasks without having to learn the code. We've seen Amazon do similar things with Alexa Blueprints, and Slack's approach allows you to create things like human resource forms, employee surveys or even a welcome message for new hires. Slack users will certainly find interesting ways to use this new functionality, and I think most will find it useful to organize lunch places or appointments when everyone is free for a meeting. This workflow generator will be available later this year, and soon there will be a preview available.