Google Splits Hangouts Into 'Chat' and 'Meet'

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At its ongoing Next conference in San Francisco, Google announced a revamped version of its Hangouts app in the GSuite with Hangouts Meet for video conferencing and Hangouts Chat for enterprise messaging.

Google's Allo and Duo chat apps are aimed squarely at consumers, but with many still clinging to Hangouts, which is being slowly shifted more toward the business world, the head of product for Allo and Duo, Amit Fulay, recently took to Twitter to reassure users that the current consumer version of Hangouts is "not going anywhere". Hangouts Meet allows users to participate in video meetings with their colleagues, while Hangouts Chat is a text-messaging platform similar to Slack.

Rooms will let people create dedicated groups for projects in a team, so they can add only the members who are working on these particular ideas. To start a meeting, users share a link with participants who can join from that link or from Calendar.

Google will also makes all messages and rooms searchable; the search can be filtered by person or file type. In other words, it sounds a lot like the Google Assistant bot it introduced in the Allo chat app last summer.

It looks like Google's messaging situation is about to get much worse.

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While Slack now may have the upper hand in terms of integrations, Google could have the leverage in selling to the enterprise, an area where Slack just only recently officially targeted with its enterprise grid offering. Google Assistant isn't now available within this offering. Google wants to get in line with Microsoft, which launches next with its chat called Teams, which is used on Microsoft 365, reports USA Today. 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. While Meets will be the video calling option for team meetings, Hangouts Chat will let teams scattered across different areas connect with each other in virtual rooms.

Hangouts Meet is available now. It's time you got one.

"Google is leveraging its capabilities in machine learning and artificial intelligence to build intelligence and automation into its productivity applications and continues to better integrate social features to cater to team collaboration as well as personal productivity."
Users will be able to have named team chats that bring in content from outside sources like docs from G Suite, Asana, Box and Zendesk.

Some of the new features in Hangouts Meet include a 30-person maximum on each meeting, as well as the ability to record. Conversations are threaded to make them easier to follow.

When will Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat be available?