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Email has been on ventilator support for quite some time as the people in the tech industry have been digging a grave for email for more than a decade. Their predictions, however, have always seemed a little out of touch.
Email, despite its terrible, horrible, no-good impact on our daily lives, is wonderfully ubiquitous, accessible, forgiving and still apparently a good business. In the last year, Amazon, Dropbox, Google and Microsoft have all announced new email initiatives.
Yet despite email’s wide acceptance, it’s possible to envision a future in which email is supplanted by new tools that allow people to collaborate in big groups and force upon companies the sort of radical information transparency that many in the tech industry, at least, believe is essential.
The best example of that new sort of communication system comes from Slack. It is a start-up in San Francisco. It looks similar to several other group chat apps you’ve used before like AOL Instant Messenger or the nerdier Internet Relay Chat, better known by its initials, IRC.
Slack, however, has a few unusual features that make it perfectly suited for work, including automatic archiving of all your interactions, a good search engine and the ability to work across just about every device you use. The app is hosted online and is extremely customizable. Slack is also easy for corporate technology departments to set up and maintain.
These features have helped turn Slack into one of the fastest-growing business applications in history.
After only a year in operation, Slack now serves about half a million workers every day as a partial replacement for email, instant messaging and face-to-face meetings.