Slack’s integration with Google Drive is getting an update, with the unveiling of new features set to roll out in 2017. Today, the productivity app company announced that users will soon be able to leverage a Google Drive bot that manages notifications across Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, stripping them away from email. In addition, Slack channels can now be connected to Team Drives, and administrators can provision Slack through the G Suite admin console.
Google Drive support first came into being in October and allows users to create and share docs and files natively within Slack. Now it’s being broadened so you can do much more without leaving the application. Slack claimed that “millions” of Google Drive files are shared in its app monthly, and to maintain that activity while shoring up its defenses against the likes of Facebook Workspaces and others, it is now time for new features.
A big part of these soon-to-be released updates is the bot. Google has created a tool that pings you with notifications in Slack about updates, edits, and other requests relating to files you might be sharing with team members. It utilizes the message buttons that became available in June so you can approve, reject, and comment, or you can take care of these matters right within Google Docs.
Slack said that the Drive bot will connect to the end user, rather than a specific channel. More details will be released next year when the bot officially launches.
Also coming soon is the integration with Google Team Drive, which enables administrators to keep all content and conversations within groups of employees in sync. This means being able to track which Slack channels files have been shared to, as well as cross-posting of documents when uploaded into Team Drive, and making Team Drive the default file storage space for those who opt for advanced cloud storage controls.
For administrators who manage large teams and have a preference for provisioning, Slack can be managed from within the G Suite dashboard. Formerly Google Apps for Work, G Suite is a suite of apps for entire companies to use. It’s now within the dashboard, and admins can choose who has access to Slack.
Other updates coming soon include Google Doc previewing within Slack and distributing permission-free files to teams — when you share a file into a channel, Slack will vet it to ensure that everyone in that group can access it.
“The new features will connect Slack to the broader Google products and technologies that can support their business growth and go deeper on how the two can work together,” a Slack spokesperson told VentureBeat.
Amid these coming updates, Slack is finding itself facing an ever-more-crowded marketplace, so it needs to continue to show that its 4 million daily active users are able to do more than simply communicate with each other. Already there’s Ryver, HipChat, Yammer, Kato, Br.im, and a bunch of others to contend with. And then there are the offerings coming from Microsoft, Facebook, and Cisco.
The aforementioned updates are not available today, and no specific timeline has been provided, beyond that they will be available some time in 2017.