When Google launched its latest instant messaging service called Allo, everyone wondered what would happen to the good old Google Hangouts. Some said it would be scrapped off while others said it would be overhauled for a new purpose. The rumors were put to rest when Google stated (rather vaguely) that it would focus Hangouts on business. Even that was not anything to hold onto until recently when it released a preview of the Hangouts app. The one thing that stands out? It’s very much like Slack.
Joining the Family
The new chatting service, simply called Hangouts Chat, is an addition to a long list of messaging apps and services from Google. The list has known names such as Allo, the Android SMS app, Google Voice, Google Talk, Hangouts, G+ messenger and Spaces. Why also the new chat service looks like just like Slack is that the new service has the capability of making autocompleted @username mentions as the user wants. Threading, the feature Slack is known for, is also present in the new Hangouts app.
Ready Support Systems
Google had done a good job with this app given that it has allowed for the integration of many of the capabilities of the search giant such as Search and Google Drive. The cool feature noticed is that one can easily share a Google Drive file or folder in a group with the members being granted automatic permission to use the file. Given the many services Google has amassed over the years, expect lots more in this app.
If you were wondering, the new service also has Hangouts Meet which allows for group video chats. It is just like the group video chat in the old Hangouts but with a new interface and cooler than the old one. With web browsers that support webRTC, you don’t need a plugin to use the service. There is a whiteboard in the meeting called Jamboard that can be edited by anyone in the video chat.
Both Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are available for users of the GSuite service with Meet already being rolled out. While it is not known what will happen to the original Hangouts app that is popular with many devices, these two new services will surely become mainstream in the not so distant future. If you are using the old Android Hangouts app (it’s not actually old), do not fret and think Google will scrap it off. There are currently no indications of the tech giant doing away with that.
Barbarians at the Gate
The introduction of the new services poses a great threat to Slack. Before, both Slack and the GSuite services were kindly neighbors with the services working in harmony. Google has decided to eat Slack’s lunch with these new introductions. People already know and are invested heavily in GSuite and making the transition to use it completely by ditching Slack will not be a problem for many.