Slack has a new feature designed to keep you completely tied to its chat app

Love it or hate it.
Love it or hate it.
Image: AP Photo/Sofia Jaramillo
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Depending who you ask, Slack is either an indispensable business tool or an attention-draining time suck. And for better or worse, the chat app has added a feature designed to keep people even more glued to the service.

Today (June 21), Slack is making third-party integrations more robust with something called message buttons. This new feature will let the company’s 3 million daily active users carry out actions, such as approve expense reports (see below), without having to leave the app.

Image: Slack

Starting today, Slack has a dozen third-party integrations for its message buttons, including Qualtrics (for creating and sending surveys), Kip (to buy items within Slack using an artificial-intelligence assistant), and Abacus (to approve expenses). Not all integrations are so robust though. For example, the integration with travel-search site Kayak is designed to surface information, such as flight updates and fares. As it stands, Kayak’s button doesn’t help employees book their business travel, but instead lets them do things like set price alerts.

Many employees already interact with Slack all day long—on their computers, phones, and wrists—blurring the lines of when work hours start and end. It’s a well-documented fact that Slack is out to kill work email, but its latest development sets it up—in theory, at least—to replace clunky enterprise tools entirely. Of course, that will depend on how robust the Slack ecosystem is. Currently, Slack has more than 500 app integrations, and it believes that its new message buttons, the API of which is available to third parties starting today, will “usher in a whole new world of apps built for Slack.”