Google Hangouts is getting a major overhaul and it is beginning to sound a lot like another workplace chat application, namely Slack.
Google has announced that the Hangouts platform will be separated into two separate identities, namely the Hangouts Meet and the Hangouts Chat.
The Hangouts Meet will be used for video conferences, whereas the Hangouts Chat will be for workplace messaging and communication.
A Lot Like Slack
According to Google, the Hangouts Chat will be an application that reflects the modern way of talking business. This makes it sound a lot like Slack, but it is still too early to decide whether Slack should be worried about this. Slack has more than four million active users on a daily basis. However, there is a worrying thought, as even Facebook has recently come up with a workplace application.
The Hangouts Chat and the Hangouts Meet are the two new wrinkles coming to Google Hangouts. It seems very clear that the Hangouts Chat is coming after Slack, whereas the Meet is more about audio and video conferences and communication. The two can be said to be business counterparts for the Allo and the Duo apps.
Meet is now available, whereas Hangouts Chat will be going into the early access programs of the company. The presently available Hangouts app will still be hanging around, but not for long.
The Hangouts Chat focuses on team messages. It will be available for the web as well as for Android and iOS devices. It will come with room, just like Slack. There will be conversation threads, which is very important in chat conversations and which Slack doesn’t still have. The conversation threads were an important part of the application and were the cause of the delay in launching the new Hangouts Chat, according to Drive Scott Johnston, the product management director at Google.
The Hangouts Chat also has Google’s services as a part of it, so when one user shares files in a room, all members will be able to access it.
Apart from Google services, there will also be access to a third party service, so developers can bring in scripts that are based on the script of Google Applications for conducting different tasks.
The Hangouts Meet was seen in a short appearance at the Google PlayStore in February. It makes meetings a lot easier. The whole meeting cycle can be atomized, right from creating agendas and follow-ups to the same. Getting into meetings will be that much easier, with just a click, for both audio and video meetings.
The app works without additional plugins and will be light on the device processor and battery life. Meetings will get loaded immediately, as the code size is smaller. Google Hangouts Meet brings in some interesting new features, such as recording. The maximum number of the members participating in the meet has also been increased to 30. The service has integration with the Chromebox for Meeting.
Over a period of time, Google Chat and the Google Meet will supersede Google Hangouts, both being aimed at business users.