It is quite amazing that so much of the future I started building half a dozen years ago is now finally with us. My effort in the business collaboration space was named numeroom.com and went belly up in the midst of global economic malaise in 2009.
The service tied together the innovation action oriented workflow driven architecture of the AgilEntity platform with advanced collaboration tools for business. Many of which you list above as things Slack should be aiming for.
Localization: I wrote an algorithm for distributed scalable real time translation using any available dictionary (at the time I used freetranslate, babelfish and google) to allow for real time many language translation. This algorithm could be used from all the main collaboration UI’s. IM, Group chat, customer service chat. It could also be called to translate static pages just as easily.
File sharing: Integrated into a real time “table” that should share files of various types.
Notifications: Advanced notification “broadcasts” could be controlled by room owners to shape how events in the room reported to the rest of the collaboration community. For example, when individuals added files to a table in a room they could be notified of the event.
Workflow: Since work is already tied into the collaboration process by being built on AgilEntity the flow of work actions seemlessly report events to users via their Action Timeline (years before Facebook presented their social timeline).
Persistent collaboration: The rooms lived on their own in a conference hall of rooms. Users could change rooms from private or public static or by deactivating them make them invisible. Rooms all belonged to categories which defined how they would be searchable on the system. Users have the ability to “category switch” their rooms…allowing them to be found serendipetously in other categories of import to the company. Meanwhile Users that enter rooms could set “jump to” links to them…which were room specific bookmarks that allowed re-entry into a room…this of “jump to” lists as a contact list for conference rooms in addition to the contact list of other workers.
All of these features were working in 2008 but I failed to gain the funding necessary to keep the engine running as I was self funding at the time.
This link shows one of the features in action back in 2009, a 3 language, real time group chat…each UI executing on a different machines:
I think I need a meeting with Stewert Butterfield!