Slack is preparing an update to its collaboration platform designed to encourage spontaneous discussions among colleagues.

At its annual conference, Slack Frontiers, the company announced a number of new features for Slack Huddles, its impromptu meeting tool.

Previously, Huddles only supported audio calls, but Slack has now introduced the ability to create quick video chats as well. Other updates include screen sharing between multiple people, emoticons and reactions, and message threads that go to the associated channel after the call ends.

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Slack introduced Huddles in July of last year, aiming to provide a digital replacement for the "water cooler cats" that disappeared with the shift to remote work at the start of the pandemic. The idea was also to minimize calendar clutter, replacing formal meetings with quick check-ins.

The decision to limit Slack Huddles to audio-only was originally designed to "reduce the fatigue associated with always being on camera," but customer feedback led Slack to take a radical turn, introducing video and other rich conferencing features. at the scrum.

"As businesses have navigated this uncharted world of flexible working, Slack has reinvented the new tools needed for the digital headquarters," said Noah Desai Weiss, senior vice president of products at Slack. "The new coworking capabilities in huddles give teams deeper ways to collaborate and make quick decisions without leaving Slack or adding to our overloaded calendars."

According to Slack, the collection of new features introduced in Huddles will give users a broader range of collaboration options, depending on the content and purpose of the session.

In particular, the company envisions the additions being used for brainstorming, feedback, and solving small problems, all of which are more difficult tasks than text chat, but don't necessarily guarantee a great meeting.

New features for Slack Huddles are still in development, but are expected to be available to all customers in the fall.

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