Hangouts can be defined as anything opposite ubiquitous for the past few years of its existence due to its lack of niche value to anyone. Google is changing that as they have transformed the formerly underutilized communications platform to two team-catered apps – Meet and Chat.
The two apps, announced by Google yesterday, March 9th, have become the by-product of Hangouts being split in the middle for their own features. While Meet handles the video conferencing capabilities that Hangouts had, Chat will take care of the team-based messaging, similar to competitor Slack.
Google hopes to iron out the kinks that have addled its user base that Hangouts used to have, considering the amount of overlap their messaging apps had over each other in the past several years. The tech giant has been looking for an environment where Hangouts would do its purpose, and have found a solution for it: enterprise.
The Google team has noticed that enterprises use Hangouts more than the average consumer, due to the service’s integration in key Google Apps suite software like Gmail, Drive and Calendar. By launching the consumer level equivalents in Google Duo and Allo, the team has focused the Hangouts derivatives Meet and Chat for the enterprise users by removing the Google+ Hangouts API for third party apps.
“Based on initial use, Hangouts Meet is one of the most frictionless video conferencing systems we’ve experienced,” said Braintree sys admin Jerome Knapp in Google’s announcement. “tarting a meeting or sharing a document from the web, calendar invite or meeting room involves a single click. It’s an antidote to the VC fatigue that’s stopped my users and executives from taking full advantage of other systems.”
The Meet app has increased its total number of participants to 30, from the original 10 participants that Hangouts used to allow. Users can start a meeting by utilizing a shareable link that can be distributed to users who are invited or posted on a Calendar event. The video conferencing app is integrated for both Google G Business apps and G Suite users. Last month, Google has silently published their iOS Meet for Apple’s mobile users for enterprise users.
Google’s Chat app on the other hand is trying its best to fight over the customers that have been using Slack as their go-to team application, with Microsoft following suit with their scheduled launch of Teams in a few days. Hangouts Chat allows teams to be subdivided into project rooms with threaded conversations and allow sharing of content found in Drive and Docs between members. Like Slack, Chat also has a meetbot that helps create team meetings by looking at member’s work calendar and checking for free time that overlaps with each other.
Hangouts Chat has also teamed up with third-party applications for integration, including Asana, Box, Prosperworks and Zendesk. Hangouts Chat is available for G Suite users by enrolling in Google’s Early Adopter Program and giving experiential feedback to the team, which will be used for further product improvements for Chat.