Slack adds built-in video calling

In June, Slack added voice calling to its workplace collaboration app. Now comes the logical extension to that feature: video calling.

Set to roll out to the company’s Mac, Windows and Chrome clients in the “next few days,” one-to-one video calling will be available to all Slack users. Meanwhile, Group video calling, with support for conversations with up to 15 people at the same time, requires one of company’s paid plans.

For the time being, support for the feature on Slack’s mobile app is limited: mobile users can join in on a call, but they’re limited to sharing and receiving audio. The company doesn’t mention whether or not video calls are coming to mobile.

For users that prefer to continue using their existing video calling solution, whether that be Hangouts or any other number of other currently available messaging apps, the good news is that Slack doesn’t lock one into using its solution; it’s possible to set the app to default to third-party services.

While it’s hard to be impressed with video calling in 2016 — even slow moving WhatsApp added the feature to its app earlier this year — Slack manages to set itself apart with an interesting emoji response feature. Say a team leader asks for their team for an opinion on a subject, team members can respond without unmuting themselves by using the thumbs up emoji or a select number of other symbols.

For Slack, video calling is just one of the features it needs to stay on top of the suddenly crowded workplace collaboration space. Even if video calling is completely pedestrian in 2016, it may be what keeps people from switching to something like Microsoft Teams.

[source] Slack [/source]