Slack wants to hire a cab or check the weather for you


Slack, the social messaging app that is becoming the go-to chatroom for workplace communication, announced a new service Tuesday called Slash Commands to merge outside companies like Lyft, Foursquare, and Poncho into its platform. The update builds on the app’s “Add to Slack” feature announced last August and factors into the company’s larger plans to convince its users to completely eschew email and other messaging services for its platform.


Slack promises its new commands will be “easy peasy” for users to remember. To summon a Lyft driver for a ride home from work, users would type “/lyft gohome.” To check Foursquare’s lunch recommendations, type “/foursquare” and then an address and Foursquare’s bot will supply its top three picks nearby. Too busy to look out the window? Type “/poncho” and your zip code to get the latest weather update.

Slack is highlighting the integration of Lyft into its platform as the topline feature. Users can request a car, check on the estimated time of arrival, or get a fare request with Slack itself by using the new feature. Lyft appears equally jazzed about the partnership with the fast-rising messaging service. In a concurrent blogpost, the ride-sharing company touted the new feature as beneficial to its customers so they “can spend more time on what matters” — like never tearing yourself away from all those work conversations that are now going on in Slack.

Hire-a-cab-in-IndiaAs BuzzFeed notes, Slack’s new push to meld its service with outside companies mirrors what Facebook is doing with its Messenger app and its M virtual assistant. It’s not yet clear how these new features will translate into revenue for Slack and Facebook.