Google's Hangouts revamp is a jacked-up two-app Slack attack

Phillip Butler
March 12, 2017

Dubbed Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, the services will allow a collection of users - such as a business unit or product team - to link up for group messages and conducting remote meetings.

While Hangouts Meet will be available to all GSuite users, Google is also rolling out the "Early Adopter Program" for GSuite enterprise users who want to try out the new Hangouts Chat.

Google Hangouts is one of the most popular messaging apps from Google, but things were left messy when the tech giant came in with Allo and Duo, two apps that basically offer what Hangouts offers as a single app. Dedicated, virtual rooms create a home for each project, with threaded conversations. Users can also join meetings from Google Calendar events or email invites.

If you use a G suite enabled account, it says there that you get to know the full potential of the app. But it's clear that the company is finally cracking down that Hangouts is a big part of its corporate enterprise band and Allo/Duo are its consumer communication apps. What do you think of Google dividing Hangouts into two distinct apps? Whether or not this will finally be the messaging strategy that works for Google, or if we'll be writing about Chat and Meet in the past tense next year is something we'll have to wait to find out.

The company reiterated its plan to focus Hangouts on "enterprise use cases" when it announced in January that it was retiring the Google+ Hangouts API, cutting off third-party consumer apps that integrated with it. Hangouts Chat, on the other hand, is much more interesting. That offering, now being tested in the Early Adopter Program, allows groups of users to message and share G-Suite files with one another securely. 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 enterprise customers will automatically get a dial-in number.

And Google is reaching out to third party partners such as Asana, Box, Prosperworks and Zendesk to help build out the Hangouts Chat platform.

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. In a way, it might be like Duo for business folks, only it supports at least 30 people at a time and can be put on your Calendar. One can also schedule meetings to be held later.

It's clear that Chat and Meet are focused on executives only. The company wanted to improve Hangouts to make it easier and faster for people start and join video conference.

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