We take a look at Slack, Workplace from Facebook, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet
Since its launch back in 2013, Slack has become an undeniable leader in its segment. The startup managed to win over the competition with its smartly designed and optimally priced product, which brought a whole new experience at that time. Today, there are several Slack alternatives in the market, but you will still find plenty of Slack loyalists out there.
Slack has several things going for it. To begin with, it has a free version that can store up to 10,000 messages, integrate with 10 apps, and support up to 5 GB of storage. Before the pandemic, free collaboration tools of this calibre (from trusted developers) were difficult to find. This made Slack your automatic go-to platform.
But in the context of COVID-19, digital collaboration is now central to every enterprise, and this opens up the market like never before. Here is our list of Slack alternatives to consider, and why they belong on your radar.
Workplace is Facebook’s social connectivity and collaboration app for professional needs. It closely resembles Facebook’s consumer app, which makes adoption a breeze. Its key features include video calls, groups, posts, announcements, and the whole nine yards.
Workplace from Facebook has a free option, which makes it a compelling Slack alternative. You get up to 50 groups, 5GB of storage per person, auto-translation into a language of your choice and live video streaming. While Slack has a wider library of integrations, but Workplace offers better storage and a more familiar UI, so the decision will depend entirely on your requirements.
The paid versions of Workplace start at $4 per user per month, which gives you access to organizational charts, surveys, and safety checks, which are sure to come in handy in a crisis period.
Microsoft might have been late in entering the collab game, but is fast catching up. There’s been a lot of debate around the Microsoft Teams vs. Slack question – but we’d say that the decision comes down to your company needs and priorities.
For COVID-19, Microsoft has launched a free version of Teams that’s surprisingly feature-rich. It has unlimited messages and search (compared to Slack’s 10,000 limit), 10 GB of shared + 2 GB of personal storage, integrations with 250+ business apps, and the ability to connect with users from outside of your organization. This is a free forever platform, which fares pretty well as a Slack alternative.
You can upgrade to a paid version of Teams, by taking advantage of Microsoft Limited Time offers for COVID-19. All told, Teams is a good place to start if you are new to Microsoft’s cloud-based collaboration ecosystem.
Recently, Google has been doubling-down on its efforts to develop and improve its cloud-based call/conferencing solution. In April of 2020, Google confirmed that its Hangouts Meet would no longer be a Hangouts product – it would simply be called Google Meet, now available as a standalone service.
Meet is Google’s flagship secure meetings platform that’s now free to every user owing to COVID-19.
Yes, you heard that right – unlike Slack and Microsoft Teams that follow a freemium structure, Google Meet is now freely available for all. If you’re using a desktop, Meet supports browser-based call hosting and joining. On mobile devices, users can access Google Meet via the native app. It supports up to 250 participants in a meeting (internal or external) and live streams on Meet can reach up to 100,000 viewers.
Each of these three Slack alternatives we mentioned come with its own USP. Workplace from Facebook is great for those new to online collab tools, as its UI will shrink your learning curve. Workplace also has a compelling price point going for it ($4 or $8 for paid versions).
Mircosoft Teams, on the other hand, has recently made impressive moves into the freemium space, with its COVID-19 offers for Teams. It also has excellent storage, unlimited search, and useful integrations if you are already in the Mircosoft ecosystem.
Finally, Meet brings a wholly different value proposition as a pure-play meetings app – rather than chat + collab, which is the case for Teams and Workplace. As a standalone tool, Meet is free for use through September 30, letting you host meetings as long as 24 hours. Upgrading Meet to a paid version will give you access to the rest of G Suite offerings.
And standing out in this segment is Slack – a recognized industry pioneer. There are several Slack alternatives that you could consider and we’d argue that now is a good time to take all of these tools for a trial run.