Slack looks to make screen sharing at work more interactive

As Slack moves more and more into trying to become a go-to tool for workplace collaboration — especially in the face of competition from Atlassian and other incumbents — it has to first make sure it has the table stakes down.

Today, the company is looking to take another step in that direction as it starts rolling out an updated screen sharing feature that allows users to mark up, edit, scroll and work together on a variety of projects they may need to handle. As Slack looks to break the notion that it’s just a Silicon Valley darling, it’s starting to refine the tools over time in order to build up that kind of baseline workplace experience that larger companies have come to expect — just in the very slick, Slack-ish experience.

It’s that slicker Slack-ish experience that the company is betting will rip potential customers away from Atlassian and incumbent tools — and also keep them from getting off Slack as they get larger and larger. Atlassian has the benefit of being a publicly-traded company and may have that perception that it’s a known quantity that’ll be more reliable than Slack. The company has tried to build out additional collaborative tools in a very Slack flavor, such as leaning on artificial intelligence to build a smarter search engine to find people to answer questions or get to the right files.

Slack acquired Screenhero back in 2014 and has offered screen-sharing for some time now (which I actually used for the first time last week with one of my colleagues, and it went fine). But as Slack looks to tout its big group of daily active users, it needs to build out those daily active use cases, so to speak.

Getting people online and working on the same thing was essentially the original promise of telecommuting, and it still seems that there’s plenty of work to do there. At one point, Yahoo sought to nix working from home altogether, and there are of course a ton of challenges that accompany it. Time zone differences can be a killer, and getting everyone into the same room (or within shouting distance) to work on something is often going to be more effective. It would seem emulating that experience is the hope for Slack’s new screen-sharing update.

Slack recently said it has more than 6 million daily active users, with more than 2 million paid users and 50,000 paid teams. Beyond that, it says it has more than 9 million weekly active users. Those are numbers that might look good for an enterprise company, but like any startup that’s looking to crack into the workplace, it still has to break into larger organizations. The company says it has $200 million in annual recurring revenue.

As part of this announcement, Slack also said it is sunsetting Screenhero at the beginning of December. Some Screenhero users that are not paying for slack will get a 60-day free trial, the company said.