There’s one particular feature we would never, under any circumstances, ask Slack to add to its messaging apps and that’s the ability to leave video notes, you know, sort of like Instagram Stories. But hey, would you look at that? Slack is getting ready to roll out precisely that feature in the not-too-distant future. Well... kind of.
Ah, Stories. You know, the ephemeral posting feature popularized by Snapchat, solidified by Instagram, and now pasted onto every single app you’ve ever downloaded? Slack’s take on that, called Clips, will let users share audio, video, and screen recordings in channels and DMs. Rumor of the feature has been floating around for a while now, and Slack finally announced it (alongside a few other new features) at its parent company Salesforce’s Dreamforce event.
Okay, so the finalized Clips product isn’t as similar to Stories as the company led us to believe when it spoke about early prototypes. You won’t scroll lazily through co-workers’ video updates all in a row like you would on Instagram, for example. Instead, the audio or video messages will live in your chat just like any other message. Consider this our extended sigh of relief.
Record whatever you want — Clips is not Instagram Stories. It’s more of an extension of the redesigned road Slack has already been running down — which is to say it’s all about remote work, now.
Clips is basically Slack’s way of making it easy to send voice and video updates to your coworkers or to your entire team. One of the standout Clips features is the ability to quickly record screenshare clips with your team, which should be much more efficient than doing so through your computer’s built-in screen-recording support.
Clips can be up to three minutes long and sent from either the desktop or mobile apps, though screen recordings can only be taken through the desktop app or in-browser Slack. Clips include auto-captions and can be slowed down or sped up.
The feature is available starting this week for paid Slack customers.
Will people use this, though? — It will be interesting to see whether or not Slack — an application typically used for text-based chat — can incorporate Clips without the feature feeling gimmicky or unnecessary. LinkedIn’s incorporation of Stories was so unloved that it shut down just a year after being introduced; Twitter’s Fleets barely lasted a few months.
I can only speak for myself here, but I just can’t see myself taking the time to record a webcam video update for my coworkers. Turning on your camera is exhausting. Unless you’re super comfortable recording your thoughts in this way, Clips could prove more trouble than it’s worth. That said, if it can help some people cut down on superfluous, protracted video meetings, that’d be great.
Along with Clips, Slack also announced today some updates to its Connect platform, which will allow paid Slack customers to invite external customers and partners to their channels, whether or not they’re paid users. Slack also said today that it’s working on integrating more fully with Salesforce products. That leverage will help it compete with the likes of Microsoft’s Teams, which has also seen tons of remote work updates as of late.