Review of Lark, a free collaboration and communication platform in the workplace

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[This is a sponsored article with Lark.]

Since the success of the pandemic, the importance of collaborative tools in the workplace has never been greater.

At Vulcan Post, we used our fair share of digital collaboration platforms, but we migrated because previous platforms switched to a paid subscription model that we personally believe was not worth the price.

They brought us closer Alosa, which provided us with the opportunity to test and review their collaboration platform. To get a full experience of what Lark can offer, we moved our team to the platform.

What is Lark?

At first glance, Lark Suite or Lark in short, is similar to other collaboration platforms we’ve used before. But the team behind Lark defines it as “a tool to change the way people work‘. While this is an ambitious claim, the team believes it can back it up.

On the Lark platform, users have access to Lark versions of Calendar, Docs, Messenger, Meetings, Cloud Storage, Email and other features. While these features are present on other platforms, Lark has a lot of tricks up its sleeve to stand out from the rest.

Lark’s main screen

Instead of exiting the app and switching to a browser, for example, Lark tries to integrate everything into a single platform, without having to switch apps or tabs.

Depending on the prices, you can use the business version of Lark Free. The only benefit that paid business users receive is access to unlimited storage and priority support. The free version of Lark still includes unlimited video conferencing minutes for up to 350 participants, 200GB of cloud storage and 500GB of email across the entire company.

The app is extremely functional and versatile. Fantastic design and intuitive user interface for most functions. I love that my communication, planning, and basic work tasks are all in one with the Lark app. – Sarah, General Manager of GRVTY Media

The application does not currently have dark mode available and I am not the only company requesting this feature. Therefore, we have sent this request to Lark’s team and have included it in their internal product reviews.

Lark can also be used on different devices. If you do not want to download an application, you can use it from your desktop. As an alternative, Lark is available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. In our two weeks of testing, the platform remained intuitive and fast, even for those who weren’t on newer devices.

Lark Messenger

Integrated chat features

When you start Lark, the first screen that will appear is Lark Messenger. Here you will have access to a myriad of tools at your disposal. You can set up a meeting, check a partner’s calendar, highlight and set important messages, define announcements, search for messages, and more.

You have access to Calendar, fixed items, search history, etc. from the right of the messenger

Lark video conferencing

Through Lark, you can also organize video conferences for up to 350 participants with unlimited minutes. This can be beneficial for those who want to host calls with external members or with the community they manage without having to pay any extra.

In addition, you also have access to Magic Share, which allows users to collaborate on a single document without having to leave the video conference.

Through Magic Share, you can choose the document you want to edit during the call or create a new document.

Additional privacy with secret chats

When you create a chat with your colleagues, you have the option to create a secret chat. This feature can be useful for sending unique company passwords or confidential company documents. The message timer can be set to a minute, hour, day, or week to clear after reading.

Animated GIF: Search and share on GIPHY

Screenshots with annotation

In chat, you have access to a screenshot tool. Includes annotation and even mosaic functions if certain details need to be blurred. Screenshots include an automatic watermark tool that will show who created it.

Lark’s screenshot tool allows you to add arrows and even mosaics

Automatic speech to text

One of the features we found useful is the ability to convert voice notes to text automatically. After the user records the audio note, they will be asked to automatically translate the audio to text for chat. Or, you can select this feature from the beginning when recording audio.

This helps you when you watch the chat to see the content and the transcript can also be searched, which is very useful for teams that are in the habit of leaving long voice notes to work with.

An example of an audio note sent with automatic transcription

Automatic translation

In each chat, you can enable settings to automatically translate all incoming messages into your system language. This can be beneficial for those working with international colleagues. There are currently over 100 languages ​​available and the Lark team is working to add more. We usually only use English in our company, but it was curious to see our colleagues try some of their broken mandarins to try this feature.

An example translated through chat

Lark Docs

Lark Docs is similar to most online word processors. You have access to documents, sheets and a recently added Bitable. Bitable allows for easier project management using features such as Kanban and Gantt charts. You can use pre-designed templates to speed up the document creation process as well.

An example of Bitable on Lark

Lark Docs offers one of our favorite collaboration features, which is the ability to edit a Lark document directly from the chat without going into a different tab.

When you participate in a video meeting in Lark, you can also generate a meeting schedule directly in the video call and edit it live using Magic Share, either on the mobile app or on the web platform. The document remains in Lark’s chat even after the call and is easily accessed again without changing platform. The chat search feature can also be used to search Documents.

Third party applications

Like most collaboration platforms, you can also add additional tools to improve your workflow. In Lark, you can connect other apps like Asana, Trello, Google Drive and more. If you have programming knowledge, you can also create and code your own application according to your needs. We’ve added a GIPHY bot to our chat for GIF feedback, but I’m not sure if we’ll use it since we saw this tweet.

If you use Trello for work or personal management, you can link Trello to Lark. This will allow you to edit, create or add cards to Trello easily without leaving Lark. So far, the third-party apps we’ve used have been seamlessly integrated into Lark and haven’t overloaded the platform.

I can add a new card to Trello directly from Lark

Calendar

Lark allows users to sync their Google calendars with Lark. Because we primarily used Google Calendar to schedule our work, transferring our pending tasks to Lark was fairly easy. We had some sync issues due to calendar permissions, but after changing some settings, it worked fine.

Our Google calendar linked to Lark lets you see the G icon in your Google Sync calendars

Video meetings set up in Lark are also accessible via the calendar and you can also view meeting notes here.

Verdict

This is a short video about the features available through Lark

Overall, Lark is a powerful collaboration platform that we believe many will enjoy. It’s fast and video chats are also stable in our experience, even for colleagues with slower Wi-Fi.

We only have a few minor doubts, the main one being that there is still no dark mode dedicated to Lark. In addition, there would be smaller changes that we would ask for in the user interface, such as having a “currently typing” status when someone writes a message and also being able to see the total count of unread messages in the web application and desk. But currently its benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.

There are many functions that we still have to explore for ourselves. You can even get training and certification as a Lark user or administrator through SaaS University.

We can see many companies, both SMEs and large companies, that can take advantage of Lark, not only to increase productivity, but also make collaboration more enjoyable, especially because we continue to work remotely. As for us, it looks like our trial period is over, but we’re not going anywhere.

A resounding yes with a poll in the chat because we continue to use Lark
  • For more information on Lark, click here.
  • If you want to use the file Enterprise Lark payment unlimited storage version, contact Lark team here.





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