Google in an attempt to compete with workplace chat solutions like Slack and Microsoft Teams has updated its chat tool, Hangouts. Hangouts allows users to send and receive instant messages and have group chats across various platforms. Google also allows companies to integrate various widgets to access data from corporate software in a chat window.
“I see this as the second incantation of Hangouts,” Scott Johnston, director of product management at Google, said in an interview. “We want to move toward helping people move faster at work.”
As per a report by Reuters, Google had announced the service last March, however, it will be available for all customers for the first time. The app’s first appearance was as a free chatting service paired alongside Gmail and to be used as a separate chat app.
Hangout Chat is available to all users in the company’s workplace software package, G Suite which is currently used by over 4 million businesses globally.
A free version of Hangouts is available for the public to use. However, the paid version of Hangouts offers a lot more features which are of use to organisations like – group chat of over 8,000 people, messages saved indefinitely, linking databases and third party software to the app and more.
Google has also integrated tools powered by artificial intelligence for companies to use like the meeting scheduler tool, which after the analysis of the company’s conference room listings and seating charts helps in suggesting where should the meeting be scheduled.