Hangouts Chat is no longer part of Google’s Early Adopter Program and is now generally available as a core G Suite service. Hangouts Chat is the latest iteration of Google Hangouts, made popular on the Google+ social network platform.
Google’s Hangouts feature became part of the greater Google ecosystem with its rollout as part of Google+ as a video conferencing utility which itself would replace Google’s Voice, Messenger, and Google Talk products.
When Google+ became less of the rule in the Google ecosystem, its various supporting services were split up and given their own path forward. For Google Hangouts, this meant splitting it into Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.
Hangouts Meet focuses on the video conferencing aspect of Google Hangouts, allowing groups of people to video conference with one-another.
Hangouts Chat, which just became a general part of Google’s G Suite service for businesses, centers around instant messaging and collaborative communications between members of a team. It shares more in common with competitors like Slack and HipChat than with its parent product, Google Hangouts.
On the surface, Hangouts Chat has all the standard team chat features that every other major player in the space has. It’s a cross-platform, cloud-based service with security that meets ISO, GDPR, AICPA, and HIPAA standards.
Third-party services connect with Hangouts Chat to extend its functionality and give users the ability to receive real-time updates directly from the team chatrooms.
Direct messaging, general and private rooms, bots, and history search are all standard features with Hangouts Chat, echoing that of its closest rivals. Slack and HipChat even shares Google Drive integration with Hangouts Chat.
Part of the Growing G Suite Family
Where Hangouts Chat does stand out is in its integration with other G Suite services. Permission management is set by team conversations instead of individual users. Drive integration is also a bit more detailed than a third-party plugin would allow.
For teams that exist entirely in the G Suite ecosystem, Hangouts Chat is an appealing choice. For others, its bots library from partner companies like SalesForce, Freshdesk, Statsbot, Zero, and Jira extend its reach beyond the Google environment. Just last week, Dropbox announced it was partnering with Google to work with G Suite.
Google’s G Suite service includes a host of different Google-driven products including Calendar, Gmail, Groups, Hangouts Meet, Drive, Docs, and others. It’s offered at three different price tiers starting with Basic at $5/user and Business at $10/user. An enterprise option is also available.
Google is building G Suite to be the cloud-based productivity hub for teams, especially those that work remotely and need to access documents and files from anywhere. G Suite currently serves an estimated 4 million businesses, globally.