Google Hangouts started life as a new messaging service for consumers way back in mid-2013, but lately it’s been shoved out of the spotlight by Allo and Android Messages. Now Google is reworking Hangouts and giving it a new lease on life.
Google today announced the new Hangouts, which is focused on businesses. The new Hangouts actually consists of two different parts, the first being Hangouts Meet. With Hangouts Meet, businesses can quickly and easily start video conferences using just a link. Meet offers native, full-screen presenting, integration with G Suite features like Calendar, and more.
And then there’s Hangouts Chat. As its name suggests, Hangouts Chat is a messaging app that offers virtual rooms with threaded conversations. It’s integrated with Drive and Docs so that you can easily share items from those services, and there’s also support for things like bots, scripting, and integration with third-party apps. And if you need to find a certain document or message that one user sent, you can use Hangouts Chat’s search functionality.
Hangouts Meet is available starting today and will roll out to all G Suite customers over the coming weeks. Hangouts Chat, on the other hand, is available to try for G Suite customers that apply through Google’s Early Adopter Program.
The new Hangouts has a nice design, and it’s good to see Google rebooting the app for business users. Considering the focus that Google has placed on Android Messages and Allo lately, it makes sense to try something else with Hangouts and focusing it on business. The last thing that consumers need is another messaging app from Google, and this change narrows things down a bit while giving business users an app focused on their needs.