Slack is introducing shared channels to make it easier for employees at separate companies to collaborate using its messaging software.

The service, announced at the Slack Frontiers event that kicked off in San Francisco on Tuesday, is available as an open beta release to Slack Standard and Plus subscribers.

“About two-thirds of existing customers use guest accounts in some capacity to work with individuals or other teams,” said Slack product manager Sean Rose. “Shared channels make that process much smoother and much closer to how you work with your own company, using channels in your own organization.”

Slack has supported guest accounts since 2014 – a feature Microsoft added to its competing Teams software just this week.  But while it had been possible for separate organizations to communicate via Slack, workarounds were often required, Rose said, such as using a mix of guest accounts and email

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