Slack’s original aim of killing email in the workplace may not have panned out since its launch five years ago but now the company has announced a slew of new features designed to help bridge the gap between email, calendars and enterprise chat.

The company has created a new bridge between its service and email. This means that if someone at your company is still refusing to use Slack or was recently hired, you’ll soon be able to chat with them directly from within Slack.

In the next few months, you will be able to @-mention these people in channels or send them a direct message and the service will automatically route these messages to their email inbox. If a user replies to these messages via email, they’ll come straight back into Slack and if they decide to sign up for the service, the back-and-forth exchange will then transform into a full Slack history.

However, you won’t be able to Slack just anyone by email just yet as this bridge will only be enabled if admins have provisioned these Slack users inside their organization. In the future though, the company could allow you to send emails to contacts outside your organization directly from the service.

Calendars and search

Slack is also introducing a number of improvements into how it handles calendar integration. Users will soon be able to sync their Slack status with either their Outlook or Gmail calendars so that their colleagues will know when they’re out of the office or in a meeting.

Slack will also be able to detect when users are discussing the idea of setting up a meeting and the service will underline words such as ‘today’ which users can click on to create a new meeting in Gmail or Outlook.

Video conferencing is also a big part of meetings which is why the company will allow its partners such as Zoom, Hangouts and Webex to show which team members are in a call within Slack with the ability to quickly join. This feature is slated to be available in Slack later this year.

The company is also changing how its platform allows users to search. Currently in Slack, you can either use the search box or quick commands to search but soon the two will be combined into a single universal search where users can find unread channels or direct messages. The new search interface will likely be available to all users in the coming weeks.

Via The Verge