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Slack is officially hopping on the AI bandwagon. Starting today, the company is rolling out three new AI features for its popular work app as a paid add-on for Enterprise members. These features sound promising, but like anything AI, we’ll need to see them in action before judging their merit.

Slack’s new AI features

The first new AI feature concerns search. Previously, searching in Slack was pretty standard: You’d enter the keywords you’d like to look for, perhaps with a specific user or channel in mind, and browse the relevant results until you (hopefully) find what you’re looking for. With the new update, Slack adds an AI bot to search. When you submit a question, the bot will generate a full response for you based on your Slack history, including both your channels and your DMs.

Slack says its new AI search is great for things like catching up on a new project at work; learning about company policies; locating subject matter experts at your company; learning from past conversations that might have dealt with a similar issue you’re working on; and unscrambling unfamiliar acronyms, so you don’t need to pester your coworkers to define work lingo.

slack ai search

Credit: Slack

Then there’s recaps and summaries: Channel recaps give you a summary of conversations inside channels. You can set the date range for the recap, so you can choose whether to receive a summary of the past 24 hours, or the past seven days. Thread summaries offer a similar solution for threads. If you don’t have the time (or energy) to read through a long conversation, you can try letting Slack’s AI summarize it for you.

I imagine these summaries will be super useful when returning from an extended vacation, but also when jumping into a new project or a new job. Whenever someone adds you to a busy Slack channel (or an entire workplace), a lot of your time is likely spent catching up on what’s going on, so, if this AI works as advertised, that could be a huge time-saver.

slack ai summarizer

Credit: Slack

Search, channel recaps, and thread summaries are the AI features rolling out today, but Slack has plans for more AI features in the future. You can already integrate AI tools from other apps, such as Notion, PagerDuty, and Perplexity. But in particular, the announcement highlighted plans to generate summaries from channels that you don’t need to see right away, but may need to view at a later time. It’s also working on integrating Einstein Copilot, Salesforce CRM’s conversational AI assistant, which should offer a ChatGPT-like experience directly in Slack.

Slack is also adamant that its AI runs on LLMs trained and run in-house. That means your data isn’t being sent to third-party AI companies like OpenAI or Google. Of course, that doesn’t mean that big tech isn’t still involved in your data here (Slack is owned by Salesforce, after all) but at least the data harvesting and processing is kept in the family.

How to try Slack’s new AI features

While these features are rolling out today, you might not see them in your company’s Slack app yet. That’s because it’s available as a paid add-on, so your company needs to choose to pay for AI going forward. In addition, there’s a waitlist for getting the new features, so you might not be able to sign up immediately even if you want to.

If you are interested in getting your company on Slack’s AI train, you can reach out using this form.

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