After failing to beat the competition in the messaging space, Google Hangouts is now packing its bags and moving next door, into the team collaboration space, where apps like Slack dominate (or do they?).
For this reason, Google is splitting Hangouts into two separate apps, namely Hangouts Meet and Hangout Chat – very creative Google *clapping*. Hangouts Meet will be focused on video and audio communications while Hangouts Chat is going directly for Slack’s head.
“Hangouts Chat is an intelligent communication app for teams that takes direct messaging in Hangouts and evolves it to reflect the way modern teams talk business.” says Google. The new Hangouts Chat is all about team messaging, and is available across multiple platforms (Android, iOS and the web), threaded conversations and yes, it will feature rooms – for different teams, just like Slack.
An interesting feature, will be the support for bots. At launch, Hangouts Chat will support Google’ own bot, @meet, that uses natural language processing and machine learning to automatically schedule meetings for your team with Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar. Google’s own services are deeply integrated into the service, such as, when you share a file with a room, all the members automatically get access to it.
“One of the biggest things talking to our G Suite customers about Hangouts meetings is just how people are spending so much time on getting into the meetings. We’re a big supporter of automating the full meeting life cycle from agenda to follow-ups. But meeting value today is destroyed by time-to-start. It takes so long to simply get started.” Said Scott Johnston, Google’s director of product management for Drive in an interview with TechCrunch.
Hangouts Meet is focused on making meetings easier. This new service will allow businesses to conduct 30-person video conferences without a lot of the normal hassles like each person having his or her own account. Instead, each person gets invited to join the chat via a simple shared link that can be sent by email or posted on a saved Calendar.
Hangouts Meet is already available today and will gradually roll out to all G Suite customers over the next few weeks. G Suite customers can apply to try Hangouts Chat through the Early Adopter Program.