Slack rolling out voice calls beta to its desktop messaging platform

Slack has begun testing voice chat just a day after announcing the feature would be coming soon. Available in beta, the feature is currently only being tested on desktop in Slack's apps and in Chrome. In a statement to TechCrunch, Slack's Vice President of Product April Underwood said:

For customers who already use services like Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Bluejeans, it's easy to initiate a variety of calling features from within Slack, but for customers who need a simple solution for voice calls with members of their Slack team, this new feature will make Slack more useful. We're looking forward hearing feedback from customers testing the beta, and are eager to get this feature in the hands of customers in our Slack mobile apps soon.

As noted by TechCrunch, Slack says that the feature is currently only available to fewer than half of all users. However, if available, team administrators can check their Slack settings to enable the voice calling feature for their users.

For those with the feature enabled, you can initiate a call by clicking the phone icon at the top of a channel or a direct message thread. Whomever you initiated the call with will then be notified and you can start chatting away after they join.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Wow. They're moving quick... Glad my team found out about this service. They've been improving steadily over the past year.
  • they should hopefully make a Universal Windows App for W10, W10M, and Xbox Posted via Universal Windows App on W10
  • Yup! Had a voice call with the boss yesterday morning. Bring on video chat with screen sharing and we can kill of our last unnecessary application (Hangouts/GoToMeeting). Slack all the things!
  • Where does slack fall with skype...dont they perform the same functions? +640/Win10
  • Slack is widely used by teams in an enterprise/companies. Having calling in built in slack would save the time needed to open up a different app and search for your team members start a call.
    This happened to my team recently, we all have slack installed on all our devices. But we had to do a video conference, it took some while as some of my team members dint have Skype installed on their phones.
  • So is skype doomed in business? +640/Win10
  • Not necessarily. There are a lot of teams that still use Skype as their primary mode of communication. My team uses slack because it's Dev team and slack's file sharing, note taking capabilities and git integration come in very handy.
    You also can't forget the amount of people that use Skype to keep in touch their families/friends.
  • Ya, but skype for business makes ms money though if I am not mistaken, would you say slack is more popular with smaller companies then, while skype is more common in larger ones? +640/Win10
  • Yes, I would say so.
  • Yes, I would say so.
  • Hmm thanks
  • I guess slack in the long run would be Microsoft's purchase for office 365, Skype too and ERP too. What different capabilities slack has btw?
  • Lync aka Skype for Business is pro business tool used by companies of all sizes as it part of Office 365 suite. Slack is glorified IRC client used by startups which have no revenue model.
  • If no revenue model then Ballmer would not have bought it. But Satya might go for it if it goes big in enterprise.
  • Bring it on to WM10
  • Skype works in China.  Slack doesn't.  China is the world's biggest market.  If they're serious about providing a platform for business they need to address this.  Otherwise it's a non-starter.