Slack is introducing a number of new integrations with outside companies today, but perhaps the most interesting is one with Lyft that allows you to hail a cab from directly within the service.
The Lyft can be summoned by typing "/lyft" within the Chat platform's chat window and interacting with a Lyft chat bot until your ride is on its way. You can even type "/lyft go home" and it will summon you a ride immediately. No need to leave the Slack at all. You do need to add the service to your Slack app via an "Add to Slack" button.
The command may be useful for moments when work teams decide to head out to the next client meeting or an after-hours event but get stuck on the "how are we getting there?" question, one that seems to always emerge.
Slack is also introducing integrations with Poncho, Foursquare, and a few other companies. Typing "/poncho" and your zip code will generate a chat bot telling you the weather. Typing "/foursquare" and giving some parameters like "lunch near X address" will bring up local food options.
Though it's hard to tell if these chat bots will take off, what's becoming clear is that we're about to see a real push by messaging services to turn bots into a significant mode of obtaining products and services. Facebook, for instance, is allowing businesses to interact with customers through its Messenger app. And its M virtual assistant can book you a flight directly within the app.
Slack won't take a cut from the Lyft orders, but it appears ready to tap into a funnel of demand from businesses with expense accounts. Maybe it's a "down the line" thing, as they say, but there's certainly a business to be built there.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.