Slack Introduces Shared Channels, But What Does It Mean For Email?

Communications platform Slack introduced Shared Channels on Tuesday, a new feature allowing two organizations using Slack to communicate and send messages to each other. For now, Shared Channels are public, but Slack intends to engineer a private version as well.   

Slack also unveiled multilingual capabilities for its communications platform, as Slack now supports French, German and Spanish. The company says it will be rolling out support for the Japanese language next. 

Previously, Slack only functioned as an internal communications platform. Users could bring in individual guests, but otherwise Slack only worked as a team-oriented platform.

The popular refrain “Email is dead” has only grown louder since the introduction of Slack to the market, and Slack’s high growth rate has done little to dispel the chatter. Slack has grown from 500,000 users in 2015 to 6 million users today, and a third of its daily active users are members of 50,000 organizations that pay to use Slack’s service. 

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Although Shared Channels significantly expands the Slack platform, it is still restricted to Slack users. For this reason, Slack’s announcement is unlikely to impact email. There are 6 million Slack users, but there will be more than 3.7 billion email users by the end of this year, according to research from The Radicati Group. 

Tom Sather, senior director of research at Return Path, agrees that Slack’s announcement will not have much impact on email.

“While the new Slack features are innovative and should help with collaboration and productivity, it is still a part of Slack's closed ecosystem as opposed to email, which is an open standard,” he says. “I think more companies and businesses will continue to use email for important matters as it's tried and true, offers more control, and one doesn't need to worry about "email" going out of business or being acquired by another company.”

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