If you remember Hangouts from Google, brace yourself for a grand revival of sorts. In comes a new version of the acclaimed Hangouts calling and messaging application— but with a hint of innovation. Surprisingly, Google has segregated one application into two separate entities— adding a distinctive reason for owing both. This time, however, Google stresses upon corporate supremacy.
While we were made to believe that Hangouts would go extinct in a few days, Google made a drastic shift of ideologies by giving it a corporate veil to work with. That said, the general aspects of video and text-based messaging will still be handled by the likes of Duo and Allo, respectively. Hangouts, or rather Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat will solely focus on the entrepreneurial aspects of chats and video calling— both of which will still be processed by Google Allo and Google Duo at the customer end.
Hangouts Meet: What’s Different?
Here comes Hangouts Meet, specifically for business houses which prefer to add up to 30 individuals for video conferencing. As compared to the older Hangouts, ‘Meet’ allows as many as 20 more connections. While Meet was launched way before the actual announcement, the Hangouts branding was made official, quite recently.
The best part about Hangouts Meet is that it can be synced with the calendar and email services— allowing join ins and scheduling for entrepreneurs. Video calls can be initiated seamlessly but only by businesses. In addition to an expansive set of features, ‘Meet’ also offers better security, dial-in support and link based additions for specific clients.
Google has fittingly separated the communication concerns but the Hangouts Chat does keep alive the older facets of the obsolete app. While calling moves to Meet, texts are solely reserved for Hangouts Chat. However, the consumer side still involves Google Allo for deciphering the business texts which already sounds cumbersome and messy.
This application comes with a Project-focused layout— featuring threads for separate topics. There are virtual rooms for discussions— as a part of other G-Suite applications, available for sharing media and documents.
Lastly, Hangouts Chat also comes with the integrated search feature. For example, if a business deals with Aadhar Card or other global biometric IDs, members can easily search for content and terminologies across the wide-array of threads and older chats— without scrolling up. This also applies for any text based content, regardless of the business genre.
Another good thing about Hangouts Chat is the availability of bots— which allow third-party integrations— within the app. Be it the external services or integrating stuffs with the existing application, Google brings home the likes of Zendesk, Box and even Asana for making Hangouts Chat a better option to work with. While it still needs to work a lot more on its architecture for competing against the likes of Messenger and Skype, this seems to be a pretty good beginning from Google— oozing with a lot of potential.
One of the many bots to be integrated includes ‘@meet’ that boasts of natural language processing capabilities and appointing members to calendars.
The New Hangouts
At present, Google has still not done away with the existing, consumer-faceted version of Hangouts. While this actually violates Google’s vision of entrepreneurial cohesion, the older app is still up for grabs— lest you are even considering the same. The new breed of Hangouts, however, doesn’t encourage personal conversations but rivals against the more professional entities like Teams from Microsoft and Slack.
If the older version of Hangouts is to be included, Google throws in a wide-range of applications for myriad business and consumer centric requirements. In addition to Hangouts Meet, Chat and original Hangouts— we still have Duo and Allo for the consumers, even though these were welcomed rather frostily.
The quagmire extends further with Android applications and even the Google Voice.
If we analyze closely, it might get slightly trickier for Google to pitch all of these messaging applications to the users. There are many underlining controversies to the same, including the segregation of video calls and messages. While businesses might still benefit from the same, it will be interesting to wait for updates and other versions of the same.