Google Splits Hangouts Into two Enterprise Apps, Meet and Chat

Delia Watkins
March 10, 2017

Google has introduced its overhauled Hangouts product, announcing that it now functions with two main experiences: Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. Google had earlier indicated that it viewed Hangouts as more suited for enterprises, when it had launched the Allo app past year to take on the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. They tried their hand with Google Talk, Google Hangouts, Google Allo, Google Duo, Hangouts in Gmail, and various other experiments but things are still haywire. During the day's keynote, they tried to clean-up what is to come and that's Hangouts becoming two products: Meet and Chat.

There's also a new video component called "Hangouts Meet". There's no word on what will happen to the regular "Google Hangouts" service, which now exists on the majority of Android phones.

Hangouts Meet supports up to 30 users in a call, and, if you browse the web with Chrome or Firefox, doesn't need a browser plugin. It's part of Google's ongoing attempt to give users as many messaging apps as possible.

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.

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You can also filter conversation based upon the kind of conversation you have had and the kind of files that have been shared in a particular thread or room.

To have the video meeting planned in the best way, Hangouts Meet is friends with Google Calendar too, allowing you to coordinate with participants pretty well. "For our G Suite Enterprise customers, each meeting comes with a dedicated dial-in phone number, so team members on the road can feel connected and productive in meetings despite wi-fi or data issues". Google is hoping that with people already familiar with the services it offers to normies - Allo and Duo - and its cloud growing as an enterprise platform, companies will be inclined to take up G-Suite and Hangouts as well. The Jamboard screen lets users draw up notes or diagrams and then share them directly through Meet. 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.

Cisco (csco), Atlassian (team), and Slack also sell similar tools.

Chat also supports bots, scripting, and can access third party applications. Some companies we're teaming up with to build out the platform include: Asana, Box, Prosperworks and Zendesk. @meet is the first bot that can automatically schedule and remind people for meetings while new bots are expected to be added in the future.

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