Google’s Slack competitor Hangouts Chat launches today for G Suite users

  • Hangouts Chat is Google’s take on enterprise chatting, a direct competitor to the very popular Slack.
  • Google’s messaging service is now available to all G Suite subscribers.
  • There is still a lot of confusion around the plethora of Hangouts-branded apps.

It’s been almost a year since Google announced Hangouts Chat, its attempt at taking on Slack. Today, Hangouts Chat is out of beta and is available to every G Suite subscriber.

It was a year ago that Google announced its plans to transform Hangouts into an enterprise communication tool. Specifically, the company introduced two apps: Hangouts Meet for video chats, and Hangouts Chat for text messaging. While Hangouts Meet quietly launched back in March, 2017, Hangouts Chat remained accessible only to those who signed up via Google’s Early Adopter Program. Until now, that is.

Google’s Slack competitor is now out of beta and available to all G Suite subscribers, provided that it’s approved by the managing company. If you are an approved G Suite user, you should be able to access Google’s chat app in the coming days. Hangouts Chat currently supports 28 languages and can hold up to 8,000 members in each chatroom. However, what makes Chat unique compared to the plethora of enterprise messaging apps out there is the way it integrates AI and third-party services into the app.

The company’s video-chatting and text-messaging services are now officially bifurcated into Allo and Chat, and Duo and Meet.

TechCrunch

For instance, bots like @Drive and @Meet help you organize files that have been shared in your chatroom and plan meetings based on your team members’ availability. Not only that, Google has partnered up with third-party companies like UberCoference, Zoom, RingCentral, and Salesforce to bring fully-integrated access to those services right inside the chatroom.

Although it is clear that Hangouts Chat is Google’s answer to Slack, its intention behind the collection of Hangouts-branded apps is not as clear. Google Hangouts in Gmail lives on while the company’s video-chatting and text-messaging services are now officially bifurcated into Allo and Chat, and Duo and Meet. The common theme among these apps? They are all severely underutilized and underappreciated.

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