Google has recently launched Hangout chats, a service that allows users to message each other privately or in groups, and work collaboratively on projects.
The software was previously launched in March 2017, but was made available only to companies enrolled in Google’s Early Adopter Program. But now, it’s open to all users who are signed up to G Suite, Google’s software for businesses that includes Gmail, Google Docs, and so on.
Launching of hangout chats for all users signals the entry of Google’s messaging strategy in the business communication arena. For businesses who have already payed for G Suite tools, Hangouts Chat becomes an attractive option to Slack as it will be included for every G Suite subscriber at no extra added cost. It’s also known to be tightly integrated with other G Suite apps.
With new updates announced in Hangouts Chat, users will be able to upload items from Drive, work together on Docs, Sheets, or Slides, and hold group video chats in Hangouts Meet. Those who hold admin credentials can also archive, export, and save Chat data using the integrated Vault application.
Google has also promised that Hangouts Chat will use the company’s AI to make workflows more systematic. Hangouts Chat will also feature 25 bots that aim to help with organization, productivity, and even meditation and mindfulness. One bot called @Drive alerts you when you’re added to a file, when comments are made, or when people request access to your documents. The @Meet bot is made for integration with Google Calendar to plan meetings. Google says users can also build bot integrations on top of Chat as well if they wish.
Hangouts Chat is made compatible with the usual Hangouts app and will work with users’ existing contacts. It is known to support 28 languages and each room can have up to 8,000 members. Hangout chat is available on iOS, Android and the web.
Along with the launch of Hangouts Chat, Google is also making some minor updates to other G Suite products. Its “Quick Access” file picker will now be available directly in Google Docs and Google Calendar will try to use machine learning to pick the best meeting room for you automatically. The Calendar feature will be available shortly.
Google has also partnered with companies who are offering their own bots. These include the likes of Xero, RingCentral, UberConference, Salesforce, Zenefits, Zoom.ai, Jira, Trello, Wrike, Kayak and Giphy.