When Google launched Allo and Duo for chats and video calling, the world was confused as to why the company would have two separate apps that even Hangouts served the purpose of. However, it became clear than Hangouts would eventually be killed or transformed into something else.
Now, after almost six months, Google has announced that Hangouts will be split into two apps – Meet and Chat. However, these services will not be anything like Allo and Duo because these will be business-oriented.
Allo and Duo are more consumer centric and allow Google users to communicate with each other through usual chats or one-to-one calls. Hangouts Meet is similar to Duo, except it will allow corporations to have business meetings. Similarly, Hangouts Chat will be a counterpart for Allo, except it will allow seamless communication between corporate employees.
Both these apps are a part of GSuite that Google has built, alongside Google Docs, Google Excel and other apps.
More about Hangouts Meet
“Hangouts Meet is a new video meeting experience with one goal: make joining meetings effortless so that people can be as productive as they are when they’re face-to-face. We’ve consistently heard from customers about ways we can improve Hangouts, like making it easier to work with external clients or reducing the ‘time to start’ a meeting to zero. That’s why we’ve built Hangouts Meet to have a light, fast interface and smart participant management,” the blog mentions.
The goes in direct competition with Skype for work, where corporates can have video conferences and meetings. Meet will allow teammates, clients and other people to simply join through a link and their Google account. One conference can hold up to 30 users at once which is fairly large.
Since it is integrated into G Suite, you can sync your calendars with Meet and get reminders about your meetings. Google has your back even if you’re not connected to the internet, as it will have a dial-in number for every meeting in the Google Calendar. Within the meeting, you can also display presentations and documents that get embedded with the meeting invite.
All video and audio streams in Meet are encrypted. Users can join securely even if they’re off site. The pricing for this service starts at a Basic plan with $5 per user per month that offers professional office suite with 30GB storage.
The Business plan at $10 per user per month offers all the functionalities of Basic plus unlimited cloud storage, audit reports to track activity, data retention and discovery of files and chats.
Corporates or businesses can get started with a 14-day trial of G Suite, after which you can pay with credit cards or debit. You will be billed monthly and can add or delete a user anytime.
More about Hangouts Chat
Hangouts Chat is an intelligent communication app for teams that takes direct messaging in Hangouts and evolves it to reflect the way modern teams talk business. This is a direct take-on Skype and Microsoft Lync, and not very different from having a WhatsApp group.
“Dedicated, virtual rooms create a lasting home for each project, with threaded conversations so your team’s progress is easy to follow. Chat’s deep integration with G Suite means shared content from Drive and Docs, or photos and videos can be viewed directly in conversations. And powerful, filterable search in Chat makes it easy to find all your content dating back to the start of the project,” the blog reads.
Because of so much integration in G Suite, you can view any document sent to you through the suite and reply to specific conversations and chats. It even has an intelligent chat bot built in called @meet that automatically schedules meetings with your team with Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar.
Google hasn’t yet released Chat yet, and is calling businesses for the Early Adoption Program. Hangouts Meet has been tested in the past and will be rolling out to G Suite in the coming few weeks.
Can this take on Microsoft Skype?
Microsoft has a large business in video conferencing and communication tools and enjoys almost a monopoly. However, Google just propelled Hangouts to a completely new level. With two apps meant specifically for businesses, Skype could face some heat from Google.
The best part about these services is the integration in G Suite, which means you can view documents in one place, send them through these services and set up meeting invites all within one app. Google has very beautifully crafted a very strong competitor to Microsoft Office Suite.
However, one thing which we cannot understand is why there have to be two different apps for the video and chat. You can integrate video in the same app as chat, with an added functionality so that users can set up instant meetings based on their discussion. We’re not sure whether Google Assistant will also make its way to Hangouts Meet and Chat because it’ll be good to have Google suggest meetings on the basis of the discussion.
Source: Google Blog