Slack snaps up Screenhero, adding cool screen-sharing capabilities to its service

29 Jan 2015

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Messaging platform Slack has bought Screenhero, bringing voice chat and the ability for multiple users to work on one screen into its suite of services.

After a lengthy process, which reports say took seven months, Slack’s interest in Screenhero has finally reached a resolution, with the latter’s six staff members joining Slack’s 100-strong team.

Over the next few months Screenhero’s features, already popular enough to see the company yield significant returns despite asking consumers to pay for content, will be gradually integrated into Slack’s suite.

Screenhero, meanwhile, will be free for both its users and Slack users until the migration is complete, at which stage Screenhero will be no more.

Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s CEO, is the one who sought Screenhero all along, with the latter’s ability to allow multiple mouse cursers working on the same screen, operated from anywhere in the world, the key USP.

Hadn't seen the likes before

“The cursor control that Screenhero offers,” he said to Tech Crunch, “we hadn’t seen anything like that before.” This will be a huge help to Slack as it is already quite popular amongst software developers who work as teams on projects.

There is also a voice-chat function that, when integrated with Slack, could prove very popular. Neither company have discussed when the new features will be rolled out, but Butterfield said to Business Insider: “When you’re talking to someone on Slack, you’ll be able to tap on their avatar and start a voice call or video calls immediately.”

Indeed it seems a win-win for both companies, with a drawn out acquisition process in part down to Screenhero's view all along that both businesses could work together, when the time was right.

"We were under no pressure to sell our company," said Screenhero in a statement. "Our financial prospects as an independent company were very bright, and we loved what we were working on.

"We decided to sell because we truly believed it was the best option for us, for Slack, and for our customers. We are excited to continue the work that we started at Screenhero."

Software developers image, via Shutterstock

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Gordon Hunt is a journalist at Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com