Google’s announcement of Allo and Duo signalled the death knell for Hangouts, the video and text chat app that they replaced and Google even confirmed that Hangouts would be repurposed as a corporate tool.
That has now come to fruition with the release of Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat apps. The two apps represent the two main features of Hangouts, with the original app now split into two.
Kicking things off with Hangouts Meet, it is clear that the new offering is very much geared up to give businesses what they want when it comes to a conferencing tool. Meetings can be started by simply sharing and then clicking a link, with up to 30 participants able to join a single meeting via the web, the mobile app or a telephone call if the business is a G Suite Enterprise customer.
There will be no need to install special plugins and users will not need to jump through the usual array of hoops just to join a meeting. This alone will be music to the ears of people who have had the misfortune of using alternative solutions in this space.
Moving on to Hangouts Chat, the new offering will be immediately familiar to anyone who has used Slack. Chat is a new text-based meeting app that allows for dedicated rooms in which certain topics can be discussed without the crosstalk that can happen otherwise.
Threaded conversations and, of course, integration with other G Suite apps will be vital here, and bots are also included just as with the aforementioned Slack. There is one bot already present, called @meet, which is there to help schedule meetings within the Hangouts Chat app.
Hangouts Meet is rolling out to G Suite customers starting today, while Hangouts Chat will be available through the Early Adopter Program to those who are registered with it.
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