Magazine app Flipboard adds support for original content with new notes feature

Magazine reading app Flipboard is becoming the latest contender in the battle to relocate some of the online conversations taking place on Twitter onto its own platform instead. The company today announced that Flipboard’s curators will be able to publish original content into their magazine in order to engage with their readers in a conversation. The company believes the feature will allow curators to create small communities around a particular theme or interest. This ultimately would deliver a different vibe than when posting on Twitter to a more general audience.

The social magazine app first introduced the ability for users to create their own magazines in 2012, by finding articles and then “flipping” those into a magazine that others could follow in their own feeds. With the launch of the new notes feature, curators will now be able to do more than share articles and other information — they’ll be able to post text notes, which can also include uploaded images or links, and they can even @mention other users to reach outside their own community.

“It’s kind of like doing a regular post on Twitter or Facebook, but it’s going into a magazine,” explains Flipboard co-founder and CEO Mike McCue. “So it’s like a post into a micro-community…And it allows people who care about something, who are following this magazine or contributing to this magazine, to be able to talk to each other, communicate and build a stronger sense of community,” he says.

The notes have a colorful, blue background to make them stand out and can be liked, commented on, shared, or flipped into other magazines.

Image Credits: Flipboard

While curators can write in the notes without worrying about a tight character limit — another change possibly coming to Twitter —  the idea is not to create another newsletter or blogging platform, like Substack or Medium. Instead, Flipboard’s notes are designed to be more like a Facebook post in length. They can be used to write an introduction to the magazine, similar to an editor’s note, or to ask questions of the community, and answer readers’ questions, among other things.

McCue says the feature has been in development for around six months, so it wasn’t necessarily built to capitalize on the chaos at Twitter, which has prompted a portion of its user base to try out various social apps, including Mastodon, Tumblr, Post News, Cohost, Hive and others.

Still, he says, the launch’s timing could become one of those things where “preparedness meets opportunity,” as it turns out.

Flipboard is not the only publishing platform to target Twitter users in recent days. Substack also announced a discussions feature of its own in November called Substack Chat which has a similar purpose of connecting creators and readers in a community conversation.

But in Flipboard’s case, the goal may be to gain further reach by adding a social element. The magazine app is a more mature company, having been founded back in 2010 to offer a more polished news reading experience that’s also customized to users’ personal interests. The company today claims to have north of 100 million monthly active users, but this includes not only web and mobile users, but also those who open Flipboard’s news emails. It’s possible that the addition of the community notes feature could encourage users who now only read news via email to re-engage with the app more directly.

The company says there are “millions” of Flipboard magazines available, but on any given month, only around 25-50% are active as not all are updated regularly.

Ahead of today’s launch, the feature was piloted with a handful of Flipboard-run group magazines, which are curated by multiple people, including The Recipe Exchange, The Travel Exchange, and The Photography Exchange. In tests beginning in July, those saw a 40% in social activity (likes, comments, flips, and shares) from August to September and a 28% increase in October, compared with September. In addition, a handful of curators also tested the feature, including the magazines Photowalkers by Jefferson Graham, Hiking the World by Kym Tyson of 33andFree, and The Breadship by Maurizio Leo.

Alongside this rollout, Flipboard is adding a new Community tab inthe app next to its For You feed to showcase the best magazine and curators, it says.

The notes feature is launching today on the web and will reach iOS and Android over the next few weeks.


Magazine app Flipboard adds support for original content with new notes feature by Sarah Perez originally published on TechCrunch

JusTalk spilled millions of user messages and locations for months

Popular messaging app JusTalk left a huge database of unencrypted private messages publicly exposed to the internet without a password for months.

The messaging app has around 20 million international users, while Google Play lists JusTalk Kids, billed as a child-friendly version of its messaging app, has racked up over 1 million Android downloads.

JusTalk says both its messaging apps are end-to-end encrypted and boasts on its website that “only you and the person you communicate with can see, read or listen to them: Even the JusTalk team won’t access your data!”

But that isn’t true. A logging database used by the company for keeping track of bugs and errors with the apps was left on the internet without a password, according to security researcher Anurag Sen, who found the exposed database and asked TechCrunch for help in reporting the lapse to the company.

The database and the hundreds of gigabytes of data inside — hosted on a Huawei-hosted cloud server in China — could be accessed from the web browser just by knowing its IP address. Shodan, a search engine for exposed devices and databases, shows the server was continually storing the most recent month’s worth of logs since at least early January when the database was first exposed.

A short time after we reported that the app was not end-to-end encrypted as the company claims, the database was shut down.

Juphoon, the China-based cloud company behind the messaging app, says on its website that it spun out JusTalk in 2016 and is now owned and operated by Ningbo Jus, a company that appears to share the same office as listed on Juphoon’s website.

Leo Lv, Juphoon’s chief executive and JusTalk’s founder, opened our emails but did not respond, or say if the company planned on notifying users about the security lapse.

Because the server’s data was entangled with logs and other computer-readable data, it’s not known exactly how many people had their private messages exposed by the security lapse.

The server was collecting and storing more than 10 million individual logs each day, including millions of messages sent over the app, including the phone numbers of the sender, the recipient and the message itself. The database also logged all placed calls, which included the caller’s and recipient’s phone numbers in each record.

Because each message recorded in the database contained every phone number in the same chat, it was possible to follow entire conversations, including from children who were using the JusTalk Kids app to chat with their parents. One conversation chain contained enough personal information to identify a pastor who was using the app to solicit a sex worker who lists their phone number publicly for their services, including the time, location and the price of their meeting.

None of the messages were encrypted, despite JusTalk’s claims.

We also previously reported that the database also included granular location data of thousands of users collected from users’ phones, with large clusters of users in the U.S., U.K., India, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and mainland China. The database also contained records from a third app, JusTalk 2nd Phone Number, which allows users to generate virtual, ephemeral phone numbers to use instead of giving out their private cell phone number. A review of some of these records show the database was logging both the person’s cell phone number and every ephemeral phone number that they generated.

But TechCrunch found evidence that Sen was not alone in finding the exposed database.

An undated ransom note left on the database suggests it was accessed on at least one occasion by a data extortionist, a bad actor that scans the internet for exposed databases in order to steal it and threaten to publish the data unless a ransom of a few hundred dollars worth of cryptocurrency is paid.

It’s not known if any JusTalk data was lost or stolen as a result of the extortionist’s access, but the blockchain address associated with the ransom note shows it has not yet received any funds.

Twitter now lets you pin up to 6 DM conversations

Twitter is slowly continuing to enhance its direct messaging interface amid a tidal wave of product updates over the last year. The company announced today that it will now enable users to pin six conversations to the top of their DM inbox for easy access. The feature is available on iOS, Android and web.

Last year, Twitter made some long-awaited changes to DMs, including the ability to DM a tweet to multiple people at once in individual conversation. Instead of timestamping individual messages with the date and time, Twitter also started grouping messages by day to “reduce timestamp clutter.”

It wouldn’t be shocking if Twitter unveiled even more new DM features over the next several months. Twitter acquired two messaging companies in the last few months of 2021: Sphere, a London-based group chat app, and Quill, a would-be Slack rival. Employees at both Sphere and Quill were absorbed into Twitter, with former Quill staff working specifically on messaging. Quill founder Ludwig Pettersson, the former creative director of Stripe, joined Twitter as a project manager on the Conversations team.

Twitter tests Reddit-style upvote and downvote buttons

Twitter will test the use of Reddit-like upvote and downvote buttons as a way to better highlight the more interesting and relevant replies in a longer conversation thread. The company announced this afternoon it would begin what it’s calling a “small research experiment” that will add upvote and downvote buttons to replies, or even replace the “Like” button entirely. In some cases, the upvote and downvote buttons may be up arrows and down arrows, while in other cases they may be thumbs up and thumbs down buttons.

And in one group of testers, users may continue to see the “Like” button (the red heart) but will now find a downvote button alongside it. In this group, the upvote would count as a “Like,” Twitter said.

Twitter clarified to TechCrunch that only a small number of testers will see these options appear in their Twitter iOS app, and users’ votes will not become public.

The company also said it’s not currently using this vote information to rank the replies at this time. (If, however, such a system ever become a public feature, that could certainly change.)

The goal with the test is to help Twitter to learn what sort of replies users find most relevant during their conversations, which is something Twitter has studied for some time. According to Twitter user researcher Cody Elam, past studies determined that users tended believed replies that were informative, supportive, positive and funny were the “best” types of replies. However, some of the best replies wouldn’t surface quickly enough — an issue Twitter hopes to be able to address with an upvoting and downvoting feature.

Elam says the feature would allow users to privately voice their opinion on the replies’ quality without having to publicly shame other users. Over time, this data could help Twitter to improve its conversation ranking systems.

If Twitter were to act on this information to actually rank the replies, it could make it easier and more enjoyable to read longer Twitter threads — like those that follow viral tweets, for example. But it could also help to better showcase the replies that add something informative or interesting or even just funny to a conversation, while pushing any trolling remarks down the thread.

Today, Twitter allows users to manually hide the replies that detract from a conversation by placing them behind an extra click. Perhaps, in time, it could do something similar for replies that received too many downvotes, too — like Reddit does. But none of these types of features are being tested right now, to be clear.

This isn’t the first time Twitter has shown interest in other types of engagement buttons beyond the Like and Retweet. Earlier this year, for example, Twitter was spotted surveying users about their interest in a broader set of emoji-style reactions, similar to what you’d find on Facebook. That feature has since been put into development, it seems.

The same survey had also asked users how they felt about upvote and downvote buttons, in addition to emoji reactions.

Twitter says the test is rolling out now to a small group on iOS only.

Google’s Duo video chat app gets a family mode with doodles and masks

Google today launched an update to its Duo video chat app (which you definitely shouldn’t confuse with Hangouts or Google Meet, Google’s other video, audio and text chat apps).

There are plenty of jokes to be made about Google’s plethora of chat options but Duo is trying to be a bit different from Hangouts and Meet in that it’s mobile-first and putting the emphasis on personal conversations. In its early days, it was very much only about one-on-one conversations (hence its name), but that has obviously changed (hence why Google will surely change its name sooner or later). This update shows this emphasis with the addition of what the company calls a ‘family mode.’

Once you activate this mode, you can start doodling on the screen, activate a number of new effects and virtually dress up with new masks. These effects and masks are now also available for one-on-one calls.

For Mother’s Day, Google is rolling out a special new effect that is sufficiently disturbing to make sure your mother will never want to use Duo again and immediately make her want to switch to Google Meet instead.

Only last month, Duo increased the maximum number of chat participants to 12 on Android and iOS. In the next few weeks, it’s also bringing this feature to the browser, where it will work for anyone with a Google account.

Google also launched a new ad for Duo. It’s what happens when marketers work from home.

Twitter’s latest test lets users subscribe to a tweet’s replies

Twitter in more recent months has been focused on making conversations on its platform easier to follow, participate in, and in some cases, block. The company’s latest test, announced via a tweet ahead of the weekend, will allow users to subscribe to replies to a particularly interesting tweet they want to follow, too, in order to see how the conversation progresses. The feature is designed to complement the existing notifications feature you may have turned on for your “must-follow” accounts.

Many people already have Twitter alert them via a push notification when an account they want to track sends out a new tweet. Now you’ll be able to visit that tweet directly and turn on the option to receive reply notifications, if you’re opted in to this new test.

If you have the new feature, you’ll see a notification bell icon in the top-right corner of the screen when you’re viewing the tweet in Twitter’s mobile app.

When you click the bell icon, you’ll be presented with three options: one to subscribe to the “top” replies, another to subscribe to all replies, and a third to turn reply notifications off.

Twitter says top replies will include those from the author, anyone they mentioned, and people you follow.

This is the same set of “interesting” replies that Twitter has previously experimented with highlighting in other ways — including through the use of labels like “Original Tweeter” or “Author,” and as of last month, with icons instead of text-based labels. For example, one test displayed a microphone icon next to a tweet from the original poster in order to make their replies easier to spot.

The larger goal of those tests and this new one is to personalize the experience of participating in Twitter conversations by showcasing what the people you follow are saying, while also making a conversation easier to follow by seeing when the original poster and those they mentioned have chimed in.

This latest test takes things a step further by actually subscribing you to those sorts of replies — or even all the replies to a tweet, if you choose.

The new experiment comes at a time when Twitter is attempting to solve the overwhelming problem of conversation health in other ways, too. Beyond attempting to write and enforce tougher rules regarding online abuse and harassment, it also last month officially launched a “Hide Replies” feature in Canada that would allow the original poster to put replies they didn’t feel were valuable behind an icon so they weren’t prominently displayed within the conversation. It’s unclear how “Hide Replies” would work with this new reply notifications option, however — presumably, you’d still get alerts when someone you follow responded, even if the original poster hid their reply from view.

Twitter says the new test is available on iOS or Android.

A first look at Twitter’s new prototype app, twttr

Yesterday, Twitter rolled out its much-anticipated prototype application to the first group of testers. We’ve now gotten our hands on the app and can see how the current version differs from the build Twitter introduced to the world back in January. While the original version and today’s prototype share many of the same features, there have been some small tweaks to as to how conversation threads are displayed, and the color-coded reply labeling system is now much more subtle.

“Twttr,” as the prototype build is called, was created to give Twitter a separate space outside its public network to experiment with new ideas about how Twitter should look, feel, and operate. Initially, the prototype focuses on changes to Replies with the goal of making longer conversations easier to read.

However, the company said it will likely continue to test new ideas within the app in the future. And even the features seen today will continue to change as the company responds to user feedback.

In the early build of the twttr prototype, the color coded reply system was intentionally designed to be overly saturated for visibility’s sake, but Twitter never intended to launch a garish color scheme like this to its testers.

The new system is more readable and no longer color codes the entire tweet.

Below are a few screenshots of what the public Twitter app looks like when compared with the new prototype, plus other features found in twttr alone.


Above: regular Twitter on the left; twttr on the right

Before digging into twttr’s key features, it’s worth noting there’s an easy way for testers to submit feedback: a menu item in the left-side navigation.

Here, you can tap on a link labeled “twttr feedback” that takes you directly to a survey form where you can share your thoughts. The form asks for your handle, what you liked, disliked and offers a space for other comments.

Reply Threads

Left: Original Twitter; Right: twttr prototype

This is the big change Twitter is testing in the prototype.

In the photo on the left, you can see how Replies are handled today – a thin, gray line connects a person replying to another user within the larger conversation taking place beneath the original tweet. In the photo, TechCrunch editor Jonathan Shieber is replying both to the TechCrunch tweet and the person who tagged him in a question in their own reply to the TC tweet.

In twttr, Shieber’s reply is nested beneath that question in a different way. It’s indented to offer a better visual cue that he’s answering Steven. And instead of a straight line, it’s curved. (It’s also blue because I follow him on Twitter.)

You’ll notice that everyone’s individual responses are more rounded – similar to chat bubbles. This allows them to pop out on the contrasting background, and gives an appearance of an online discussion board.

Left: Original Twitter; Right: twttr prototype

This is even more apparent when the background is set to the white day theme instead of the darker night theme.

Color coded Replies

Here’s a closer look at nested replies.

People you follow will be prominently highlighted at the top of longer threads with a bright blue line next to their name, on the left side of their chat bubble-shaped reply.

Left: Original Twitter; Right: twttr prototype

In the public version of the Twitter app, the original poster is also highlighted in the Reply thread with a prominent “Original Tweeter” label. In the prototype, however, they’re designated only by a colored line next to their name, on the left side of the chat bubble. (See Jordan’s tweet above.)

This is definitely a more subtle way to highlight the tweet’s importance to the conversation. It’s also one that could be overlooked – especially in the darker themed Night Mode where the gray line doesn’t offer as much contrast with the dark background.

In the day theme, it’s much easier to see the difference. (See below).

Engagements are hidden

Another thing you’ll notice when scrolling through conversations on twttr is that engagements are hidden on people’s individual tweets. That is, there’s no heart (favorite) icon, no retweet icon, no reply bubble icon, and no sharing icon, like you’re used to seeing on tweets today.

Instead, if you want to interact with any tweet using one of those options, you have to tap on the tweet itself.

The tweet will then pop up and become the focus, and all the interaction buttons – including the option to start typing your reply – will then become available.

“Show More”

Another change to conversations is that some Replies are hidden by default when you’re reading through a series of Replies on Twitter.

Often, in long conversation threads, people will respond to someone else in a thread besides the Original Tweeter. Both are tagged in the response when that occurs, but the reply may not be about the original tweet at all. This can make it difficult to follow conversations.

Above: “Show more,” before being expanded

In twttr, these sorts of “side conversations” are hidden.

In their place, a “Show More” button appears. When tapped, those hidden replies come into view again. They’re also indented to show they are a part of a different thread.

This change highlights only those Replies that are in response to the original tweet. That means people trolling other individuals in the thread could see their Replies hidden. But it also means that those responding to a troll comment to the original poster  – like one offering a fact check, for example – will also be hidden.

Above: after being expanded

The icon!

Twttr is very much a prototype. That means everything seen here now could dramatically change at any point in the future. Even the twttr icon itself has gone through different iterations.

The first version of the ico was a very lovely bird logo that looked notably different from original Twitter. The new version (which we’ll dub twttr’s Yo icon), is a plain blue box.

Twitter has its reasons for that one….and clearly, it didn’t ask for feedback on this particular change.

Where’s that feedback form again?

A new ‘Hide Tweet’ button has been spotted in Twitter’s code

Twitter confirmed it has in development a new “Hide Tweet” option, but has yet to provide more detail about its plans for the feature. The new option, spotted in Twitter’s code, is available from a list of moderation choices that appear when you click the “Share” button on a tweet – a button whose icon has also been given a refresh, it seems. Like it sounds, “Hide Tweet” appears to function as an alternative to muting or blocking a user, while still offering some control over a conversation.

Related to this, an option to “View Hidden Tweets” was also found to be in the works. This appears to allow a user to unhide those tweets that were previously hidden.

The “Hide Tweet” feature was first discovered by Jane Manchun Wong, who tweeted about her findings on Thursday.

Wong says she found the feature within the code of the Twitter Android application. That means it’s not necessarily something Twitter will release publicly, but has at least thought about seriously enough to develop.

Reached for comment earlier today, Twitter told us some employees would soon tweet out more context about the feature. As of the time of writing, those explanations had not gone live.

Immediately, there were concerns an option like this would allow users to silence their critics – not just for themselves, as is possible today with muting and blocking – but for anyone reading through a stream of Twitter Replies. Imagine, for example, if a controversial politician began to hide tweets they didn’t like or those that contradicted an outrageous claim with a fact check, people said.

On the flip side, putting the original poster back in control of which Replies are visible may allow people to feel more comfortable with sharing on Twitter, which could impact user growth – a number Twitter struggles with today.

But as of now, it’s not clear that the “Hide Tweet” button is something that would hide the tweet from everyone’s view, or just the from the person who clicked the button.

It’s also unclear what stage of development the feature is in, or if it will be part of a larger change to moderation controls.

If Twitter chooses to comment, we’ll update with those answers.

The feature’s discovery comes at a time when Twitter has been under increased pressure to improve the conversational health on its platform.

In a recent interview, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that it puts most of the burden on the victims of abuse, which has been “a huge fail.” He said Twitter was looking into new way to proactively enforce and promote health, so blocking and reporting were last resorts.

A “Hide Tweet” button doesn’t seem to fit into that plan, as it requires users’ direct involvement with the moderation process.

It’s worth also noting that Twitter already has a “hidden tweets” feature of sorts.

In 2018, the company introduced a new filtering strategy to hide disruptive tweets, which takes into consideration various behavioral signals – like whether the account had verified its email, is frequently blocked, or tweets often at accounts that don’t follow it back, for example. If Twitter determined the tweet should be downranked, it moved it to its own secluded part of the Reply thread, under a “Show more replies” button.

Twitter tests a number of things that never see the light of day in a public product. More recently, the company said it was weighing the idea of a “clarifying function” for explaining old tweets. It’s also launching a prototype app that will experiment with new ideas around conversation threads.


Alexa will soon gain a memory, converse more naturally, and automatically launch skills

Alexa will soon be able to recall information you’ve directed her to remember, as well as have more natural conversations that don’t require every command to begin with “Alexa.” She’ll also be able to launch skills in response to questions you ask, without explicit instructions to do so. The features are the first of what Amazon says are many launches this year that will make its virtual assistant more personalized, smarter, and more engaging.

The news was announced this morning in a keynote presentation from the head of the Alexa Brain group, Ruhi Sarikaya, speaking at the World Wide Web Conference in Lyon, France.

He explained that the Alexa Brain initiative is focused on improving Alexa’s ability to track context and memory within and across dialog sessions, as well as make it easier for users to discover and interact with Alexa’s now over 40,000 third-party skills.

With the memory update, arriving soon to U.S. users, Alexa will be able to remember any information you ask her to, and retrieve it later.

For example, you might direct Alexa to remember an important day by saying something like, “Alexa, remember that Sean’s birthday is June 20th.” Alexa will then reply, “Okay, I’ll remember that Sean’s birthday is June 20th.” This effectively turns Alexa into a way to offload information you’d otherwise have to store in your own brain, and is reminiscent of earlier bots, like Wonder, which were designed to remember anything you told it, for later retrieval over SMS or messaging platforms.

Memory, of course, has also been one of Google Assistant’s more useful features – so it was time for Alexa to catch up on this front.

In addition, Alexa will soon be able to have more natural conversations with users, thanks to something called “context carryover.” This means that Alexa will be able to understand follow-up questions and respond appropriately, even though you haven’t addressed her as “Alexa.”

For instance, you could ask “Alexa, how is the weather in Seattle?” and then ask, “What about this weekend?” after Alexa responds.

You can even change the subject, saying “Alexa, how’s the weather in Portland?,” then “How long does it take to get there?”

The feature, says Sarikaya, takes advantage of deep learning models applied to the spoken language understanding pipeline, in order to have conversations that carry customers’ intent and entities within and across domains – like it did between weather and traffic, in the example above.

Natural conversations are also coming “soon” to Alexa device owners in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.

A third advance arriving in the near future focuses on Alexa’s skills. These are the third-party voice apps that aim to help you do more with Alexa – like checking your credit card account information, playing news radio, ordering an Uber, playing a game, and more. There are so many out there, it’s becoming harder to surface them just by digging around in the Alexa Skills Store.

In the weeks ahead, U.S. users will be able to launch skills using natural phrases, instead of explicit commands like “Alexa, open [skill name]” or “…enable [skill name].”

Amazon has been working to make Alexa’s skills easier to use for years. In 2016, Echo was updated to allow users to enable new Alexa skills by voice, and last year, Alexa began suggesting skills in response to certain questions in limited scenarios. With the new feature, now in beta testing, Alexa will instead locate and launch skills for you.

Sarikaya gives an example of this from the current beta test, noting that he asked Alexa “how do I remove an oil stain from my shirt?”

Alexa responded by saying “Here is Tide Stain Remover,” which is the name of Procter & Gamble’s skill that walks you through stain removal for over 200 specific stain types – including oil.

Before, it was hard to imagine why anyone would seek out and enable a Tide skill on their own, but having it in Alexa’s repertoire now begins to make more sense.

This could also potentially present Amazon with an advertising model, similar to Google’s keyword bidding system. If someone asks for information that could be answered by a skill touting a particular product or brand, Amazon could eventually have advertisers compete to be the skill recommended first. (Perhaps the others could be called up with a follow-up request, “any other ideas?”)

Amazon isn’t giving an exact launch date for any of these three new features, only that they’re coming soon.

But despite the new launches, Sarikaya notes there’s still a lot of work left ahead.

“We have many challenges still to address, such as how to scale these new experiences across languages and different devices, how to scale skill arbitration across the tens of thousands of Alexa skills, and how to measure experience quality,” he says. “Additionally, there are component-level technology challenges that span automatic speech recognition, spoken language understanding, dialog management, natural language generation, text-to-speech synthesis, and personalization,” he says.

“Skills arbitration, context carryover and the memory feature are early instances of a class of work Amazon scientists and engineers are doing to make engaging with Alexa more friction-free,” Sarikaya continues. “We’re on a multi-year journey to fundamentally change human-computer interaction, and as we like to say at Amazon, it’s still Day 1.”


Convert your hottest leads right from Slack with our new two-way integration

Today, we’re introducing a new two-way Slack integration that allows you to respond to leads super fast from the app you have open all day.

The relationships we have with our customers are maintained by the conversations we have with them. Real-world conversations are dynamic, fluid interactions that adapt to the spaces we have them in.

Traditionally, our online conversations are more rigid, taking place in specific locations like a mobile app or particular channel. That can be great for customers – they can speak to you wherever they are and you can go to them rather than forcing them to one destination – but it has meant that it can be difficult for you as a business to manage those conversations when they’re coming from multiple different channels. That in turn can make it a struggle to respond in real-time, losing the personal connection that comes from mimicking face-to-face human conversations.

It’s no coincidence, then, that Slack – which brings all your team communication and different tools you use into one place – is already our most popular integration, used by more than half of Intercom customers. It serves a simple purpose: notify you in Slack about relevant activity happening in Intercom, such as a new lead or conversation.

Introducing the new Intercom + Slack integration

Essential tool

It’s an essential tool for many of our users who don’t have dedicated live chat agents and aren’t manning the Intercom inbox full time; with the integration, they can be sure not to miss a conversation from a lead or customer, even when they don’t have Intercom or their email open.

But we wanted to take it a step further, so today we’re releasing a brand new two-way Slack integration. Now, not only can you know about new Intercom conversations in Slack, you can respond, qualify and close from there too, saving you precious time and increasing your chances of conversion.

Rather than wasting time switching between tools, you can reply from the app you already have open all day, so you can speed up your response time – particularly important in sales where a few minutes delay could be the difference between engaging a lead while they’re on your site and ready to buy, and losing them, possibly forever. Talking with your leads from the same place you already use to talk with your teammates will also make those conversations feel more natural and personal too. Here’s what you can do:

Never miss an opportunity with real-time Slack notifications

Real-time notifications in Slack mean you’ll never miss an opportunity, even when you’re on the go. You’ll know instantly about new leads, users and conversations – you choose exactly what to be notified about, in which channels, based on your Intercom inboxes. That way, you ensure the right conversations go to the right people and Slack doesn’t get too noisy.

For example, conversations you already route to a VIP Sales inbox in Intercom based on their quality (according to Operator bot’s automated qualification or Clearbit data, for example), can be sent to your #vip-sales channel in Slack, so your reps can spend time working the best opportunities first.
Then, you can send support conversations that go to your Support or unassigned inbox in Intercom to your #customer-support channel so that they don’t clog up your sales channels – so Sales can focus on selling, and Support can focus on supporting.

Respond instantly from Slack

Once a notification comes in to Slack, you can respond from the conversation right there – no need to waste time switching tools, so you can focus on closing deals and not have to worry about which app you’re using.

All your communications are seamlessly synced between Intercom and Slack.

Just like in Intercom, it’s easy to keep the conversation fun and personal with gifs, emojis and attachments – and it’s easy to loop in your teammates to conversations too. Once a conversation is finished, you can close it from Slack to keep everything tidy in both Intercom and Slack; all your communications are seamlessly synced between Intercom and Slack.

Capture lead data as you qualify from Slack

As you’re chatting and qualifying a lead from Slack, you’ll be collecting details from them in the conversation, such as their company name, website and phone number. You can capture that data in Intercom directly from Slack with a simple /command.
Any other tools you have synced with Intercom, such as Salesforce, will be automatically updated too, so you can capture the data you’re collecting without updating multiple tools, in context and without having to leave the conversation.

These features make your workflows much more efficient and make it easy to respond to leads instantly, increasing your chances and speed of conversion.

Find out more about the integration and how you can build it into your workflow here.

Slack + Intercom integration

The post Convert your hottest leads right from Slack with our new two-way integration appeared first on Inside Intercom.