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Slack wants you to never leave its app

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Image: MASHABLE COMPOSITE: SLACK AND EMOJIPEDIA

Quick, how much actual work are you able to get done just in Slack

Chances are, unless your job description includes “sending an endless stream of GIFs and emoji to coworkers,” the answer is not that much. But that may soon change.

Today, at the company’s first ever developer conference, Slack is introducing a new feature called “actions,” which lets developers hook their apps even deeper into the chat service so you can do more without ever leaving the app.

Rolling out to developers today, actions takes Slack’s existing third-party app integrations to the next level. Instead of the automated experiences developers can create now, actions lets you start using outside services directly from Slack messages.

If your company uses the task management software Asana, for example, you can create and assign a new task right from your chats. Or, if you use Zendesk, you can create support tickets directly form a message.

Though many other platforms also work with these types of services, actions are unique because it essentially turns Slack into another interface for all those third-party apps, says Slack Chief Product Officer April Underwood.

“No operating system does that, no browser does that, none of the existing wrappers around all of your different tools actually enables this sort of interoperability,” Underwood says.

If you’re a Slack user, this also means you can soon do a lot more without ever having to leave the app. Though actions are available to developers now, the company worked with a handful of early partners, including Zendesk, Asana, Jira, Bitbucket, and HupSpot. 

Slack's new Asana 'action.'

Slack’s new Asana ‘action.’

How much time Slack “actions” will really end up saving, however, is unclear. Chances are you’ll still have to leave Slack eventually for more complex tasks, though being able to complete smaller chores in your chats may make you feel like you’re getting more done.

Of course, this all has the end result of making us even more dependent on Slack than we already are. That may not seem like such a bad thing, but Slack’s update also has the unfortunate timing of coming just one day after an outage left the app unaccessible for part of the day, causing a minor meltdown on Twitter. While Slack says its “uptime” over the last six months is over 99 percent, that doesn’t matter much if it’s not available when you most need it. 

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