Team communication app Slack has hired Foursquare executive Noah Weiss to head up a new Search, Learning, & Intelligence Group for Slack, which will be part of the well-funded startup’s new New York office.
“The focus is on building features that make Slack better the bigger a company is and the more it uses Slack,” Weiss wrote today in a Medium post. “The success of the group will be measured in how much more productive, informed, and collaborative Slack users get — whether a company has 10, 100, or 10,000 people.”
Weiss is looking for people well versed in artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and information retrieval. From that I gather that he’ll be building technology that will make it possible for users to quickly find specific information on a given topic within Slack. Or, as he puts it, the team will be focused on “mining the chat corpus.”
3/ The focus will be building features that make Slack better the bigger a company is and the more it uses Slack.
— Noah Weiss (@noah_weiss) January 26, 2016
That’s an interesting although not completely surprising development for a business-oriented messaging app that has exploded in popularity and now has more than 2 million daily active users.
Snapchat last year established a research team that uses artificial intelligence to analyze user content. Flipboard and Pinterest have also explored the field to develop new image recognition capability. Baidu, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft all have long-term research ongoing in the area.
And now, of course, Slack is active there too.
Weiss’ departure is also not the best signal for Foursquare, which recently raised a funding round at a valuation that is reportedly half of what it was before.
Slack, meanwhile, had a valuation of $2.8 billion during its funding round from last year.