$7 billion Slack just made it easier to search for channels as it takes on Microsoft

Stewart Butterfield Slack

Beck Diefenbach/Reuters

Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield

  • On Monday, Slack announced an update that allows users to search for channels more easily, even if they don't know the exact name of the channel or don't know if it even exists.
  • These results will also be tailored to users based on what channels they're in, who they work with, and what topics they discuss.
  • Slack's search updates in the past year helps it scale to larger organizations as it takes on its biggest competitor Microsoft Teams.

Slack launched a new update on Monday that makes it easier to search for channels.

A channel, basically a chat room on Slack devoted to a specific topic or group of people, is one of the primary ways that people interact on the service. Advertisement

Until now, you found the channel you wanted by clicking on the special "Channels" section or by using the main search bar. But if you didn't know the exact name of the channel, or didn't even know if it exists, you were out of luck.

The new feature can help you out by identifying key words or topics.

Jaime DeLanghe, head of Search and Discovery at Slack, says it can be difficult to find the right place to have a conversation. That's especially true as an organization gets larger and the amount of channels grows.

"We're working on a new kind of search that's not just messages or files, but also channels," DeLanghe told Business Insider. "One of the things that's most valuable is it's not just a conversation between me and you. It's a conversation with a group of people that can change."

This feature also serves up results tailored to specific users based on the channels they're in, who they work the most with, and the topics they discuss.
Channel Search Mktg 1.1@2X


Slack's new update allows users to search for channels based on if a search term is frequently discussed there.


"We worked to make our search personalized to our user, team and organization," DeLanghe said. "This new search feature really learns about you and how you use Slack and matches the interface to your specific needs."

Last year, Slack released some changes that made search much faster. For example, it launched search autocomplete, filters, and a better infrastructure for its search engine.

This helps Slack, which is popular among startups, as it scales up to larger organizations and takes on companies like Microsoft. Just last week, Microsoft announced new features for its collaboration tool Microsoft Teams. As for Slack, it announced it had confidentially filed to go public in February.Advertisement

Read more: Microsoft Teams turns 2 years old and adds new features to take on $7.1 billion Slack

"Search became a lot faster and a lot more scalable with other organizations," DeLanghe said. "As we've said in the past, that move was always meant to be a foundational move. We are hoping to be able to leverage that interface as we continue to improve the search experience over time."

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