Published: Sun, March 12, 2017
Science | By Kerry Wheeler

Google Splits Hangouts Into 'Chat' and 'Meet'

Google Splits Hangouts Into 'Chat' and 'Meet'

The news comes as part of the Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco. To this end, the company is giving Google Hangouts a complete overhaul to make it more like segment leader Slack - something Microsoft recently did with Microsoft Teams.

"Team Drives" enable teams to simply and securely manage permissions, ownership and file access for an organisation and are available for G Suite Business, Education, and Enterprise customers. Following that, Google has appeared to redirect attentions away from Hangout products, launching a standalone video chat app called Duo and dropping Google+ Hangouts on Air to redirect users to YouTube Live instead. Users can join from the web interface or an app or even with a dedicated dial-in phone number if you are a G Suite Enterprise customer.

If you use a G suite enabled account, it says there that you get to know the full potential of the app. Rumors and speculation have pointed to Google making Hangouts enterprise-only and pushing consumers towards Allo and Duo, but Fulay's Tweet, made in reply to a curious user, stands as assurance that, for now at least, that won't be happening.

Google is bigging up the search functionality within the app as well - because after all, it is Google, you'd hope they can manage a good internal search within the apps.

For many, using Google Hangouts is often about videoconferencing, but it's also about collaboration in many different forms.

According to CIO.com, Google now has nine different messaging apps such as Google Messenger, Google Chat, Google Voice, Allo, Duo, and the Spaces group-sharing app.

How much does Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat cost?

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Google is moving fast on this, apparently, and businesses in the Early Adopter Program are already getting the new version. One is Hangouts Meet, which focuses on video, while the other is Hangouts Chat, which is all about group text chatting.

Google's initial support of bots along with video conferencing could also give it a stronger hand against other players including Facebook, Microsoft, and Cisco.

Google is also allowing third-party applications to integrate with the Chat app. "One is: just get me into the meeting - I want to jump on and have a conversation".

But Google has quite a lot of advantages over Slack and even Microsoft.

While Hangouts wasn't received well by consumers, it did have better success in the enterprise due to its integration with Google's Apps suite, such as Gmail, Drive and Calendar, according to Google.

It's clear that Chat and Meet are focused on executives only. Conversations are threaded to make them easier to follow.

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