It’s been a big week for Skype. The company announced group calling on mobile, integration with Outlook mobile, and today it’s rolling out to Slack, too. Available now in preview mode (meaning a beta release), the new Slack integration allows team members using Slack’s real-time communication software a way to quickly start either a voice or video call from within the Slack application.
To get started, Slack users have to click on the “Add to Slack” button available on this page on Skype’s website, then confirm which team they want to integrate with by choosing “Authorize” when the correct team is selected. (You can click “Change teams,” if you need to switch, of course.)
That uncomplicated setup process is in large part due to Slack’s efforts at making it easy to add third-party apps to its service. This lets its customers to expand their version of Slack with additional functionality that ranges from automated bots to integrations with back-office systems across departments like HR, Security, Compliance, Accounting, Customer Support, and more.
Once installed, kicking off a Skype call is as simple as just typing in “/skype” into the Slack chat interface, which will then display a join link.
This Slack integration works across platforms, says Microsoft, noting that Slack members on the web, Windows, Mac, iOS or Android will be able to set up or join calls.
On the desktop, you’ll only need a web browser, while on mobile, you’ll need to download the Skype mobile application onto your smartphone. Slack team members can also join as guests on a computer, or they can sign in using their Skype name or Microsoft account information.
Microsoft didn’t say when this integration will exit from Preview mode, or what sort of limitations or bugs users may encounter. The software is already available in Slack’s own directory, too, in addition to the Skype website. However, Slack does cover itself by noting on its app pages that it only conducts brief reviews of these third-party add-ons, and does not endorse or certify them. That means until the Slack integration exits Preview mode, you may encounter some issues.
Rolling out Slack integration is a notable move aimed at keeping Skype a part of team collaboration in the workplace. Slack’s rapidly growing communication platform already has 2 million daily active users, and 570,000 paid seats as of the end of last year. It has launched an $80 million fund to back Slack app developers, and is said to be valued at $2.8 billion.