Google’s Slack competitor Hangouts Chat now available for G Suite users

By : |March 1, 2018 0

Google’s Slack competitor Hangouts Chat is now generally available and is becoming a core part of G Suite.

Hangout Chat was first unveiled nearly a year ago at Google Cloud Next 2017, together with Hangouts Meet. 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.

The new service is a lot like Slack in that teams can communicate in group chat and one-to-one messages. It also supports integrations with third-party apps and bots.

Hangouts Chat represents a big overhaul of Google’s messaging strategy that signals its entry into the business communication arena. For businesses already paying for G Suite tools, Hangouts Chat could be an attractive alternative to Slack as it will be included for every G Suite subscriber at no extra cost. It’s also tightly integrated with other G Suite apps.

Hangouts Chat currently supports 28 languages and can hold up to 8,000 members in each chat room. However, what makes Chat stand out amongst the plethora of enterprise messaging apps out there is the way it integrates AI and third-party services into the app. For example, Google’s meeting-scheduling bot will be able to automatically schedule team meetings based on each person’s calendar.

Google has a total of 25 bots available on Hangouts Chat today — far fewer than the thousands that Slack has — but that number is likely to rise now that the service has reached general availability.

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