Google rebooting Hangouts into business-focused apps for video chat and messaging
Mar 10 2017 by Bridget Leonard
Earlier this week, we reported that Google quietly launched its Hangouts Meet video conferencing service in an effort to focus more on the enterprise users with its Hangouts service. Notably, your current Hangouts app isn't going away just yet but its just a matter of time. They tried their hand with Google Talk, Google Hangouts, Google Allo, Google Duo, Hangouts in Gmail, and various other experiments but things are still haywire. Hangouts Meet will also have an edge over Microsoft Edge and Apple's Safari - both video chat services - because the user will not need to install a plugin on Chrome or Firefox.
Interestingly, the new Hangouts Chat platform also supports bots and scripts and third-party application support. And as Meet integrates directly with G Suite, information you need about each meeting is automatically pulled from Calendar. G Suite customers will be able to apply to try Hangouts Chat through the Early Adopter Program. An invite to join a meeting can be obtained from the Google Calendar, a shared link in Hangout messages or via email. The Hangouts will be split into Meet and Chat, well sounds more like a dating app but that doesn't stop us from having a closer look. Hangouts Chat, which is actually built for G Suite, makes it easy to scale towards enterprise organizations like large companies and even universities. Google doesn't state the fate of the app in its blog post, but TechCrunch reports that, according to Google's Scott Johnston, it will be replaced at some point by the new Meet and Chat apps.
With its new Hangouts Chat service, Google is taking on Microsoft's Teams service as well as Slack. The Google Meet was live a few weeks ago and was touted to help users showcase their team's projects alongside seamless integration with the GSuite. Retaining customers is significantly easier than creating new ones, and asking users to install a new app every couple months when they're used to one app that does the same thing is more of the former than the latter.
For enterprise subscribers, each meeting invitation is also accompanied by a dial phone number so remote participants can dial into meetings while on the go. You can access Meet right here on the web or via Google Play. There's no word on what will happen to the regular "Google Hangouts" service, which now exists on the majority of Android phones.
The apps are also connected to Google's machine-learning tools that make it possible for so-called software bots to automatically perform various tasks.
Hangouts Chat, a stand-alone new service that is separate from the existing Hangouts, looks a little like Slack in form and function, but there is no mistaking its lineage.