Collaboration Service Convo Revamps Web Interface For More Speed, More Integrations

Real-time collaboration service Convo is unveiling what CEO Faizan Buzdar called “the biggest, most massive update” since it launched.

While Slack has been hogging the collaboration spotlight (and raising a big funding round), it seemed like Convo was standing still, without much in the way of updates or improvements. Buzdar said that’s because his team has been working to “build a new platform from scratch, from the ground up.”

Today, Convo is launching a redesigned web application, and a new desktop Mac application. Buzdar said similar updates are coming to the Windows app — as you’d expect, given the statements above, the plan is to bring these improvements to “all platforms.”

To be clear, Convo might not look dramatically different to its users — it’s still the same interface where you can post messages, form different groups and share content. But Buzdar said the backend has changed significantly. For one thing, the speed of notifications and updates has supposedly improved by 3x. For another, the web app no longer uses Adobe’s Flash or AIR technology.

Other new features include a vastly expanded selection of integrations that allow users to automatically post content from services like Gmail, Salesforce and Twitter. While Convo previously supported integrations through its API, the company has now gone out and built 200 integrations on its own. (To do this, it took advantage of web automation service Zapier, so you’ll need a Zapier account to take advantage of the integrations.)

Other new features include infinite scroll, the ability to mute conversations (so maybe this thread in the TechCrunch writers’ room will finally die?), additional group privacy controls and content previews that are optimized for retina displays.

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Buzdar added that Convo is now used by 15,000 businesses, including 25 percent of Fortune 500 companies.

“What we’ve noticed is that Convo isn’t used for social chitchat … but for mission critical workflows,” he said. So the “overarching theme” of the revamped platform is to better support those kinds of use cases, particularly for large, enterprise customers.

In the interests of disclosure, I should also mentioned that returning TechCrunch writer Drew Olanoff spent some time as an advisor at Convo. Oh, and as for our own newsroom collaboration, TechCrunch rejects the false dichotomy of Slack versus Convo — we use both. (Which is, yes, kind of confusing. But it works for us. Mostly.)