Google has rolled out Hangouts Chat, a messaging service allowing users to send messages individually or in groups, much like how what Slack offers.
With its release, Google signals its aim to compete directly with Slack in the context of collaboration among individuals in the workplace. Unveiled in March 2017, it's available only for companies enrolled in Google's Early Adopter Program, but now it's been integrated as a core G Suite service — Google's all-in-one business platform that bundles Docs, Drive, and others — for all users.
"Chat helps teams collaborate easily and efficiently," Google said in a blog post. "With dedicated, virtual rooms to house projects over time — plus threaded conversations — Chat makes it simple to track progress and follow up tasks."
Slack Should Worry
While Hangouts may seem merely a branching-out of Google's existing Hangouts platform for regular users, it actually illustrates the company's desire to play a key role in how businesses communicate and perhaps snatch some of Slack's popularity and success in the business sector. Business who already are on G suite and use Slack may turn to Hangouts Chat as an alternative because it will be included without extra charge — bigger companies might deem Slack unnecessary altogether because of this.
G Suite Integration
Google also figured how its chat platform interacts with other software in G Suite. As a result, everything is well integrated. Teams can send items from Drive, edit them using Docs or the appropriate G Suite editing tool, and then video conference with one another using Hangouts Meet. It blends into the platform seamlessly instead of interrupting it. G Suite users will most likely learn how to include it in their workflow in no time.
Hangouts Chat will come with artificial intelligence tricks as a way to make workflows easier, Google confirmed. It will also offer support for a handful of bots to help teams with productivity, organization, and even things such as mindfulness and meditation.
Hangouts Chat is available now. There's a web version aside from iOS and Android apps. G Suite users can get started by visiting the Hangouts Chat website.
Slack is apparently the best software for businesses, according to G2 Crowd's annual review list released this past January. Users say it's very easy to use, and communicating with others is a breeze. Google, of course, wants to appeal to that market and eventually poach Slack users and lure them into the G Suite ecosystem for good. Whether it succeeds in that remains to be seen, though.