Then, there are private messages, where you can directly message a colleague or chat with a smaller group away from group discussions. Tying it all together is universal search to find old conversations and files quickly. Instead of checking a half-dozen apps for an old message, a team chat apps gives you one place for everything, from random conversations to private messages with your boss. Slack 's the pound gorilla in the room, the team chat app you've most likely heard of and tried already. Launched in mid by the team that built Flickr, it quickly became one of the most popular ways to chat in groups.
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This year, Slack even acquired its original closest competitor, HipChat, along with HipChat's newer replacement Stride. Slack is easily the most popular team chat app today. It's more than chat. Slack's built-in Slackbot tool can remind you of messages—or set a reminder about anything you need to remember. Then, the custom Slack Bots you can build and install are the main reason bots became a buzzword over the past few years, with tools that can start projects, crunch numbers, and approve invoices right from your team chat.
There's more than just bots, too. You can make it look how you want with deeply customizable themes. Its emoji-based reactions are a super-powered version of Facebook's ubiquitous Like button. And its conversations tool let you turn any chat message into a mini-channel about that one topic. Slack's even great beyond work—or for juggling multiple jobs at a time.
You can join multiple teams in Slack to keep your reading group, side project, and work chat all together in the same app. Chat apps are great for in-the-moment conversation with their chronological list of messages. But when everything's just another comment in your team's General channel, it's easy to miss out on valuable info if you don't read through every message.
Twist , a team chat app from the Todoist team, changes that by turning all team chats into threads. It includes standard channels for group conversations—but when you want to say something, you either have to comment on an existing thread or start a new one. That keeps each conversation focused and helps you see what your team talked about while you were away.
For a more traditional chat experience, the Messages tab lets you send direct message to anyone on your team or form an ad hoc group for private discussions. And, if you need to take action on any message or thread, tap the Todoist button in the top right corner to add a new task to your Todoist to-do list that links back to the original conversation. Microsoft designed their Microsoft Teams chats app for meetings and documents. It works well for random conversations but is at its best when you're hammering out a proposal or outlining a project together with a team.
Microsoft Teams organizes channels under teams.
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Invite everyone who should be in that team, and they'll automatically be able to join in every channel in that team. There, you can chat as usual, with a Reply button under every message to turn it into a thread. Need to write something longer? Tap the A button to get a rich text editor where you can write an email-style message complete with a subject and importance indicator. Or, you can write a full wiki of documents as a permanent record of what your team does, and share Office Online documents in your chat. Then, whenever you have a meeting, Microsoft Teams makes a new chat room just for that meeting.
You can jump on a video call, share your screen, and log every discussion in long-form messages. It's almost email reinvented. One of the newest ways to chat with your team is Google Hangouts Chat , a team chat companion to their popular Hangouts video chat. Like every other G Suite app, if your company uses G Suite for your email, everyone on your team gets access automatically. Google designed Hangouts Chat for conversations in semi-private rooms.
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You can invite team members to rooms you create—but they're not shared by default. Then add your ideas in new conversations, or follow up on older ideas as a reply to existing conversations. That keeps your chat more focused.
Those files will automatically have their sharing permissions changed to share them with your entire team in that room, and it'll be easy to find them again later with Hangouts Chat's document filters in its search tool. You need to figure something out. So, in Flock , you start a new chat, add the people you need, and start talking about it. Reply to someone's message, and Flock will quote what they said right under your reply—much like in a forum. Need to share files? Connect Google Drive to see a list of recent files in the sidebar, and share the file directly into the conversation.
If you need to talk face-to-face, tap the camera icon to open an Appear. Once you have all the options on the table, tap the poll icon to get your team to vote on what to do quickly. Then, in the shared to-do list—again, in the sidebar—add tasks for everything that needs completed and assign them to the right people. It's a quick and actionable way to talk to your team and get things done with Flock's apps that live in the sidebar of your conversations.
Discord is CB radio reinvented for the web, built into a team chat app. The team chat side of things works much as you'd expect, similar to the original HipChat or Slack in their early days. There are channels for every topic you want to discuss, emoji reactions to give quick feedback, and pinned messages so you don't lose track of important ideas.
Behind all that are Voice channels , always-on phone calls where you can talk to anyone on your team. You can keep your mic off, then push a key to start talking whenever you want to jump in.
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It's designed for gaming, with an overlay view that shows voice channels on the side of your games—but could be as handy to talk to colleagues while working remotely in a shared Google Doc. And you can quickly add someone from another team to your chats, with their DiscordTag or the Instant Invite link that lets you share a chat server with anyone. Discord was the fastest growing team chat app on Zapier so far in —and is quickly becoming the way new teams start using team chat for free.
Sometimes a picture's worth a thousand words. Cisco Webex Teams is a team chat app designed for creative teams that would rather discuss things in pictures. It keeps chat simple, with straightforward messaging that lets you make a new room in one click. Everything else is off to the side, with an app pane that lets you start a voice or video call or share files with your team.
Or, tap the Whiteboard for a blank space where you can sketch your ideas on a virtual whiteboard for a quick way to show your team what you're discussing.
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And when you need to talk instead of chat, Webex Teams includes Cisco-powered voice and video chat that works with Cisco's VoIP devices. Want a team chat app that's deeply customizable and can run on your company's servers? Mattermost is the tool to use. It's a self-hosted team chat app with the core chat tools your team expects—along with options to customize almost everything about how your team works together.
The core chat experience feels much like Slack, with a unique take on message replies that shows all of the replies together in-line with the rest of the chat conversations. You can keep things a bit more orderly by making as many teams as you want, each with their members and channels.
Then, with it hosted on your servers, you can tweak everything: You can even make custom builds of its mobile apps. If your team has strict policies on communications, it's the chat app that can work the way you need to. Work with people outside your company often, perhaps juggling relationships with suppliers or contracting with multiple teams at once?
ChatWork is a social network for business chat. You'll add a full profile to your account, complete with contact info and a Chatwork ID that anyone can use to add you to their chats. You can then join in group chats at your company, message anyone else with a Chatwork ID, or start new public or private group chats. Chatwork keeps all of those together in your left sidebar so you can quickly jump between conversations and teams without missing anything.
It even consolidates mentions from every team you're in—and includes a to-do list to manage every actionable item from each conversation—to help cut through the noise.