Slack tacks on another email killer with addition of user groups

While a simple feature at first glance, Slack's latest addition could theoretically replace mass emails in offering an alternative to the pesky reply-all situation.


Slack, a budding workplace collaboration platform, has introduced a new feature that could bolster its attack on traditional email.

The San Francisco-based startup introduced user groups on Thursday, allowing users to mass-message entire departments within an organization rather than just posting a message to a channel.

For example, users could message the entire engineering department by directing messages to "@engineers" or for more social purposes like "@running-club."

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While a simple feature at first glance, it could essentially replace mass emails while offering a more unified, one-stop option for reply-alls and other feedback.

Slack is also updating its API in accordance with the user groups feature, enabling developers to build apps that support programmatic group creation and management.

Furthermore, IT administrators will also be able to map users in these groups to Active Directory through a variety of single sign-on providers, such as Okta, Ping Identity and OneLogin.

User Groups are available now for all paid Slack teams on both Standard and Plus subscription plans.

Admins will be able to map the user groups in Slack to Active Directory with SSO providers including OneLogin, Okta, and Ping. This means admins can invite entire groups of people into Slack, all at once. There's also a new groups API where developers can build custom apps for onboarding within an organization.

Slack has been continuously baking in new features and links to other collaboration software brands over the last few months, including Google Calendar this summer.

Slack announced in June it hired Google and Twitter vet April Underwood to oversee Slack API integrations and developer relations, among other platform-related products.

Since then, the cloud-based communications hub pushed out an "Add to Slack" button in August, designed for bridging third-party app integrations with a single click.

Among some of the initial dozen or so apps already employing the Add to Slack button are enterprise cloud storage service Box, Twitter-companion app/news feed Nuzzle and NBC Breaking News.

Image via Slack

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