Google takes on Slack by splitting Hangouts in half

Google takes on Slack by splitting Hangouts in half

Following up on its commitment to the cloud market, where Google lacks rivals Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, it also announced new capabilities for developers. To this end, the company is giving Google Hangouts a complete overhaul to make it more like segment leader Slack - something Microsoft recently did with Microsoft Teams. Hangouts Chat is still available to G Suite customers, but only if they apply through an "early adopter program" in which they give feedback. While Meet takes on Hangouts' video-conferencing features, Chats is a dedicated messaging app for teams. But the new group chat rooms - which also offer threaded messages - are perhaps the biggest move the app has made since its launch in 2013.

More importantly, though, setting up a video meeting should be a lot easier going forward: guests who aren't on the invite (or who happen to have clicked into the meeting) will be able to "knock" and ask to join more easily.

All of this is part of the company's push to make its G Suite productivity suite more appealing to businesses large and small. In its place, Google wants consumers to switch to its Duo video-calling app and Allo messaging app. As you might expect, Google is also touting the search features inside the app.

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Google's ever changing messaging strategy is changing once more.

According to CIO.com, Google now has nine different messaging apps such as Google Messenger, Google Chat, Google Voice, Allo, Duo, and the Spaces group-sharing app. Google says the new Hangouts Chat is ready for enterprises, comes with data loss prevention, and will allow for admin controls as well. Google Assistant isn't now available within this offering. Scott Johnston, director of product management at Google Hangouts, said the changes were created to enable teams of colleagues to communicate "from anywhere at anytime". According to TechCrunch, every meeting through Meet will come with a dial-in number, which has a PIN code attached. But one thing seemed to be missing and that was a strong collaboration product a la Slack, Microsoft Teams, and others. It supports up to 30 participants at a time, with everyone joining through a shared link without the need to log in to an account. One can also schedule meetings to be held later. Users can share content via Google Docs and Google Drive, along with pictures and video.

And Google is reaching out to third party partners such as Asana, Box, Prosperworks and Zendesk to help build out the Hangouts Chat platform. Additionally, Hangouts Chat evolves the Hangouts experience in a way that can scale to enterprise-sized organizations.

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