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Slack Hires Foursquare Exec for Artificial Intelligence Push

January 26, 2016, 7:18 PM UTC

This story was updated at Tuesday afternoon to include comments by Noah Weiss.

It seems Foursquare, the once-high-flying location app company, can’t catch a break. Slack, the well-funded collaboration software company helmed by Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, has just hired away its senior vice president of product management, according to a spokeswoman.

Noah Weiss, who started his new job this week, will now head a new Slack business group in New York focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning projects. For example, AI could be used to improve search features across the Slack business messaging service. Other possibilities include automatically generating reports for Slack teams that summarize comments by contributors and collaborators that pertain to certain topics. The new Slack team’s official moniker is “Search, Learning and Intelligence.”

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In a Medium post about his new job, Weiss pointed to other ideas such as “mining chat histories” for relevant communications, or using information about a team’s expertise to guide other employees to topic experts, or creating knowledge “bots” that can answer certain questions automatically (sort of like a next-generation frequently asked questions department). “The success of the group will be measured in how much more productive, information, and collaborative Slack user get—whether a company has 10, 100, or 10,000 people,” Weiss wrote.

For the past five years, Weiss was head of product management for Foursquare, which swapped CEOs last week after its latest venture funding round. (J Crowley is now vice president of products.) According to reports, the $45 million in Series E funding values the company at $250 million, far less than its early valuation of $650 million. Foursquare’s founder Dennis Crowley has stepped aside, and the company’s chief operating officer Jeff Glueck was promoted to reboot its strategy.

Weiss was previously a Google (GOOGL) product manager who specialized in advanced search capabilities.

Slack is investing substantially in technology that connects its workplace messaging system to other business applications including services from Dropbox, Google, and Twitter. The company has raised more than $320 million and was reported to have a valuation of over $3 billion in April. Nearly 2 million daily active users rely on the service including teams from eBay, Ogilvy, Salesforce, Samsung, and Urban Outfitters.

By the way, Weiss will remain a “roving ambassador” for Foursquare. During the week he took off between jobs, he spent lots of time contributing reviews and personal perspective to the location service. “I made sure to go out as the No. 1 fan of the product,” he wrote.