Slack's corporate chat service is taking a page out of the Facebook and Twitter playbooks and adopting an algorithmic approach to showing messages.
The start-up, which is valued privately at $3.8 billion, released a feature on Wednesday that prominently displays the most relevant messages other people sent in the app while you weren't using it. With the new Highlights feature, Slack is moving beyond the conventional chronological ordering it has used since launching publicly in 2014.
Facebook and Twitter have both embraced algorithmic ranking to surface certain content in timelines for their users. Slack is revamping its product so that people don't have to spend time going through everything they may have missed.
Users of the paid service will see up to 10 messages deemed to be most relevant in the "All Unreads" section. Those messages will have a light yellow background inside the individual channels where they first appeared.
The feature becomes particularly useful for people who subscribe to numerous channels and have alerts flying at them from many different directions. For example, Highlights helped Noah Weiss, the head of Slack's growing search, learning and intelligence group, catch up on the most important activities across 100 channels after he returned from meetings with customers earlier this week.
"Welcome to how we use Slack at Slack," Weiss said in an interview with CNBC.
The system is personalized, taking into consideration factors like which users you engage with most often and which channels you most carefully follow. Recommendations will get better over time as Slack tracks your usage.