Over the past year, many have speculated on Google’s possible plans to build a business communication tool. The debut of Google’s new programs, Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, confirms this undertaking. The programs were designed to accommodate two frequent consumer demands—a more seamless video connection during virtual meetings and a more collaborative experience. Accordingly, Google’s goal is to optimize remote communication, making it comprehensive, compatible and readily available anytime, anywhere. So how exactly will Google’s new tools improve virtual communication?
Hangouts Meet: Streamlining the connection process
Hangouts Meet aims to simplify the process of setting up a virtual conference, ultimately saving time and increasing productivity through use of a speedy interface and an intelligent engagement system. On the platform, meetings are initiated with a sharable link inviting members to join via Google Calendar. Within a few clicks, members can enter a conference without the trouble of installing plugins or creating an account. Meet also has the capacity to integrate with G Suite, so Calendar information is automatically synced. Wi-Fi and data are no longer potential obstacles either, as enterprise customers enjoy a provided dial-in phone number.
Hangouts Chat: Enhancing virtual group communication
Direct messaging on Hangout threads will now enhance internal communications. Each team or project group can have a conversation that is held in a designated “room.” The conversation threads can also include materials from Google Drive, permitting direct content-, photo- and video-sharing.
Chat aims to enhance digital team communication while offering an option for project integration. By teaming up with popular platforms such as Asana, Zendesk and Prosperworks, Google supports a streamlined experience. Third-party applications and other features, such as bots and simple scripting (via Google App Script), can be integrated as well. Chat also features a smart bot, @meet, which is able to process natural language and apply machine learning to directly sync scheduling with Google Calendar and Meet.
A Dynamic Duo?
Scott Johnston, Google’s director of product management for Drive, explains the function of the two different programs, telling TechCrunch, “One is: just get me into the meeting—I want to jump on and have a conversation. And they want to respond quickly to conversations that are going on within their team. So there are two app entry points, but they are the same family.”
Google plans to ultimately have Chat and Meet overtake Hangouts entirely. The combination of these services will compete with platforms such as Slack and the newly launched Microsoft Teams. Hangouts Meet has been released and is now available to all G Suite users. Hangouts Chat is not available to the public yet, but G Suite customers may test the program through the Early Adopter Program.