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Cloud utilization continues to grow as companies move more of their business processes online. Whether it be for payroll processing, enterprise resource planning, or service desk management, cloud computing has become the go-to strategy of companies looking to streamline their office procedures.

This wholesale movement toward cloud computing is especially strong in the field of office communication. Team messaging apps, in particular, are fast becoming indispensable office staples.

Packed with features that allow for seamless virtual meetings, these centrally hosted communication applications are redefining the modern workplace. From free online storage to custom integration, the team messaging apps available now on the market offer various core features that make collaboration so much easier.

Searchable Content

Team communication apps such as Ryver and Fleep offer free unlimited access to old messages. Users can search, retrieve, and review any number of old messages without signing up for a paid plan.

Platforms such as Slack and HipChat, on the other hand, offer capped search options for free accounts. Slack has a 10,000-message limit, while HipChat users on free accounts can sift through 25,000 of their teams’ most recent messages.

Cross-OS and Multi-Platform Deployment

Because the present technological climate makes it a must for team communication apps to embrace the operating systems running the most prevalent machine platforms of today, cross-OS, variable-device access is not a problem. The top team messaging apps available now on the market have free Mac, Windows, Android, and iOS versions. Additionally, users who are looking for a Linux client can turn to Ryver, Bitrix24, and Rocket.Chat for their team communication needs.

Guest Access and Uncapped User Number

Team messaging apps typically don’t cap workgroup sizes. Teams can have as many members as they want, free of charge. Guest access, however, is not the same across the board. The free versions of Slack and Bitrix24 exclude guest access, while Ryver, HipChat, and Rocket.Chat allow their free users to include any number of clients, providers, and external partners to their teams’ channels.

Third-Party App Integration

Custom integrations and third-party app connectivity are common team communication app features. Users can hook their apps to other online services by using the app’s open API tools or by installing ready-made add-ons from the platform’s app library. Users can add popular online services like Gmail, Dropbox, and Evernote to their team’s in-platform tools, for example. Everyone can also take advantage of open-source software to create bots and other custom productivity resources.

Ryver, HipChat, Fleep, Bitrix24, and Rocket.Chat offer unlimited app integrations for free, while Slack and Cisco Spark allow no more than 10.

Free Online Storage

For in-platform data storage, Slack, HipChat, Fleep, Bitrix24, and Cisco Spark all offer five gigabytes for free. Ryver offers unlimited data space, while Rocket.Chat brings to the table a highly configurable system that can be tweaked to meet the user’s storage requirements.

Startups that are looking for a free online communications solution will find plenty of reasons to adopt any of these platforms. While paid subscriptions promise more benefits, the features offered by the free versions of these apps are often enough to help teams address their collaboration needs. Five gigabytes of free data storage is enough for small workgroups that seldom share large files, for example, while unlimited third-party app integrations are handy for teams looking to complete their virtual workstations.

(image from Ryver.com)

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