Slack has acquired Missions, the app that allows Slack users to build tools to automate simple routines without code. Missions’ technology lets people create workflows for tasks that they might normally have to talk about inside Slack and then carry out the process off-chat. With Missions, Slack hopes that users can help teams boost productivity by making things more simple for a variety of repeatable processes. Other potential areas for the app to help users include managing approvals and rejections in the hiring process, as well as internal ticketing.
Microsoft today is launching Skype 8.0 version for desktop that adds support of HD (1080px video) video calls which can include up to 24 people, as well as the Twitter-inspired @mentions. Later this summer it will also get end-to-end encryption for Skype audio calls, text messages, and shared files like images, audio and video. The calls will be secured by the industry standard Signal Protocol. Messages and notifications in these conversations will also be hidden in the chat list to keep the communication private. Besodes, Skype is adding built-in call recording. The calls will be recorded in the cloud and everyone in the call will be notified the call is being recorded, for privacy’s sake and for legal reasons.
GitHub, the code hosting service Microsoft recently acquired, is launching a couple of new features for its business users that’ll make it easier for them to access public repositories on the service. Traditionally, users on the hosted Business Cloud and self-hosted Enterprise were not able to directly access the millions of public open-source repositories on the service. Now, with the service’s release, that’s changing, and business users will be able to reach beyond their firewalls to engage and collaborate with the rest of the GitHub community directly. With this, GitHub now also offers its business and enterprise users a new unified search feature that lets them tap into their internal repos but also look at open-source ones.
Slack’s search functions are getting another little quality-of-life update with the introduction of filters, which aims to make search a little more granular to find the right answers. The company also says searches are going to be more personalized. All of this is an attempt to get to the right files or conversations quickly as Slack — a simple collection of group chats and channels that can get out of hand very fast — something a little more palatable. As companies get bigger and bigger, the sheer amount of information that ends up in it will grow faster and faster. That means that the right information will generally be more difficult to access, and if Slack is going to stick to its roots as a simple internal communications product, it’s going to have to lean on improvements under the hood and small changes in front of users. The company says search is now 70 percent faster on the back end.
Microsoft followed Slack's strategy and opened a free version of Teams. After all, it’s Slack’s free tier that helped the work chat app gain so much traction so quickly. Signing users up for Teams is way to get more feet into the door of its application ecosystem, which was once ubiquitous in offices. Once they’ve download teams, workplaces will be hooked into the Microsoft 365 suite. The free tier is limited to up to 300 people per workplace and features built-in audio and video calling for individuals, groups, and full team meetups, 10 GB of team file storage plus additional 2 GB per person for personal storage, integrated, real-time content creation with Office Online apps, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, integrations with 140+ business apps to choose from, ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft’s secure, global infrastructure.
WhatsApp added an option to have only admins to send messages in group chats. This could be useful for people and companies that use WhatsApp as a way to send mass updates, and to cut down on noise and clutter. In fact it's an alternative for Telegram's channels, where only administrators can broadcast messages. This format is suitable for corporate micro-blogs to deliver company news, discount-offers or announcements to large number of customers.
LogMeIn has updated its GoToMeeting video and audio conference platform with new features that include a text chat function, AI transcription service and integration with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. The Business Messaging feature lets employees chat one-to-one or in groups with each other or with external clients using the new GoToMeeting desktop application or a standalone mobile app. Users can jump from a message thread directly into a video or audio conference with one click. The Smart Meeting Assistant transcribes meeting audio, storing the text in the cloud for subsequent sharing. This means that meeting attendees won’t need to worry about taking notes and can focus on discussions with colleagues.
PayPal introduced new checkout technology for e-commerce sites that will dynamically present the most relevant payment method for each customer. That is, instead of retailers having to litter their checkout page with a variety of payment options, PayPal Checkout’s new “smart payment buttons” will update to display the right set of options for each customer in each geography. That means retailers can more easily include alternative payment methods, like local wallets and country-specific options, alongside a PayPal button.
Google Calendar gets a new “Out of Office” feature along with setting customizable working hours. The working hours signal to others when you’re unavailable, and allows Google Calendar to automatically decline meetings on your behalf outside those hours. For starters, you’ll find there’s a new “Out of Office” calendar entry type you can select when you’re creating an event via Google Calendar on the web. For example, if you’re scheduling the dates of your vacation, you could mark that event as “Out of Office.” If others send you meeting invites during this period, Google Calendar will decline them without your involvement.
In July Google’s ad service AdWords will become Google Ads. But it’s not just a name change. Google is also launching something it calls Smart Campaigns, which will become the default mode for advertisers. It allows those advertisers to identify the actions (whether it’s phone calls, store visits or purchases) that they’re prioritizing, then Google Ads will use machine learning to optimize the images, text and targeting to drive more of those actions.