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Slack and Google partner on better integration

With competition from Microsoft Teams, Slack finds a friendly face

It's readily apparent that Slack is feeling the heat from Microsoft's new Teams collaboration suite. Now, they're doing something about it, with a broad new partnership with Google that will help keep Slack and Google Team Drives in better sync while offering some other nice new perks, like in-Slack document preview.

Slack has offered some Google integration from its earliest days. In fact, according to TechCrunch, Google Drive files are imported into slack 60,000 times every weekday, or once ever 1.4 seconds.

But that was built on Google Team Drive's public API, while this offer a deeper integration. Some of the new features include:

  • A permission checker that makes sure if you share a document on a channel, everyone has permission to see it. If not, it gives you a prompt to expand that permission.
  • Connect Team Drives to Slack's Channels, so you never miss a file again. Once it's uploaded into the channel, it's automatically backed up into a corresponding Drive.
  • A chatbot that lets you handle a variety of Drive-related tasks inside the conversational stream, rather than having to bounce out to a browser.
  • Provision Slack from G Suite, meaning one less place to have to deal with when onboarding new users.

This last bit is interesting to me in that it appears to cede a little identity-management ground. After all, being the next Active Directory is what Slack sees as its big opportunity. But I think that right now, it wants to make sure it can compete with all the integration that Microsoft Teams is sporting, and the only way to do that at this point is partner, partner, partner. It will be interesting to see if this update will help it keep up its meteoric growth among increasing competition.

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