Slack added video to Huddles so you don’t have to spend your life in Zoom meetings

From The Verge: Slack is upgrading its Huddles feature with video chat, multi-user screen sharing, and a per-huddle chat thread. The company announced the updates at its Frontiers conference, which for Slack is both a chance to unveil new products and to share its thoughts about the future of work. With Huddles, Slack’s vision is simple: people need more, richer ways to chat, but they don’t need more meetings.

Huddles originally launched a year ago, and they’ve worked for Slack precisely because they don’t feel like meetings. The company always imagined the feature, which you can use to have a quick audio call inside Slack, as more akin to walking over to someone’s desk rather than sending them a calendar invite. They were audio-only; you couldn’t schedule one; you could start one in any channel or direct message. It borrowed a lot from Discord’s audio chat features and has worked really well.

“What’s nice about Huddles is it’s not intrusive,” says Tamar Yehoshua, Slack’s head of product. “It’s not like your phone is ringing and you have to pick it up. I can hang out in the huddle, listen to the nice background jazz music, and wait until you’re free.” Huddles are often used as co-working tools, Yehoshua says, so teams can quickly get something done without the mental overhead of turning on cameras and having an official meeting. The company is proud that the average huddle is only 10 minutes long, a nice respite from a constant drumbeat of 30-minute Zoom meetings.

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