Google Splitting Hangouts Into Hangouts Meet and Chat; Turning It Into a Slack Competitor

Google has long been criticised for not giving proper attention to Hangouts and updating it with features that are found in other chat tools. Instead of improving Hangouts, Google went on to launch Allo and Duo, two more messaging applications that have only further convoluted its messaging strategy.

When Google first launched Allo last year, the company said that Hangouts will continue to exist, though it will now be aimed at business users. Now, in a bid to make Hangouts suitable for enterprise use, Google has announced a major update to it. This also involves splitting Hangouts into two: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.

Hangouts Meet is a video meeting application for enterprises that is meant to make video conferencing as simple as possible. Thanks to the lightweight nature of the app, one can easily run a 30-person video conference on Meet without any issues, and it works without installing any app or plugin to your browser (Chrome and Firefox only).

Joining a Meet call is extremely easy as well, with users being given the option to dial-in on a phone number, an email invite, or right from their Calendar.

As for Hangouts Chat, it is an “intelligent communication app” that is meant to take on Slack. One can create a group and then create virtual rooms for each project. To make following conversations easier, Hangouts Chat comes with threaded conversations and features deep integration with G Suite to make sharing content from Drive, Docs, and Photos easier. Additionally, the platform itself has support for bots, Google App script, and third-party app integration so that teams and enterprises can get more done right from within the app.

To make scheduling Meet video calls from within Chat easier, the latter comes with a @meet bot that uses natural language processing and machine learning to automatically schedule meetings on Meet with your team and adds it to your Google Calendar.

Hangouts Meet will be available for all G Suite owners over the coming few weeks, with Hangouts Chat only being available through Google’s Early Adopter Program for now. If you are an existing Hangouts user, you can continue using the app for the foreseeable future without any issues. The regular version of the app will gain these features down the line.

[Via Google]