The new Hangouts Chat is all about team messaging. That means the application, which will be available on Android, iOS and the web, will offer rooms just like Slack. It’ll also include threaded conversations – something Slack hasn’t really perfected yet.
Files shared from Drive and Docs can be viewed within conversations, and it has a powerful search feature with filtering options. So when you share a file with your room, all the members automatically get access to it. But Google is also bringing in third-party services, as well, and launching the Hangouts platform that will allow developers bring in bots and lightweight scripts to perform different tasks.
In a blog post, Scott Johnston, director of product management for Hangouts, said Google is working with Asana, Box, Prosperworks and Zendesk to expand the Chat platform. In fact, there’s already a bot built in – @meet – which can schedule meetings for you and directly plug them into your Google Calendar.
Hangouts Meet allows users to participate in video meetings with their colleagues. Users can create and share links to video conferences, which other users can join without creating accounts or installing plugins. Users can also join meetings from Google Calendar events or email invites. There are also a few new features in Meet, including recording, for example, and the maximum number of participants is now 30.
You’ll have to wait to try out Chat, as it’s still in a relatively early phase; you can apply to try it out via Google’s Early Adopter Program. Meet, on the other hand, is available today and will roll out to G Suite customers over the next few weeks.