Google this week announced that its workplace chat app for Mac, PC, iOS, and Android, called "Hangouts Chat," has come out of the Early Adopter Program beta and will be available to anyone who pays for a core G Suite service. Hangouts Chat is an expansion of Google's Hangouts platform and the company's answer to services like Slack, HipChat, Workplace by Facebook, and Microsoft Teams (via TechCrunch).
Google's app emphasizes a few unique artificial intelligence features available for users, involving various chatbots. In one example, Google shows how one person could ask a @Meet bot to "Plan a review meeting next week," and then the bot would communicate with Google Calendar to find the best time for all employees involved in the chat, create the meeting, and then add it to each person's calendar.
App connections include the typical G Suite apps that will come alongside Hangouts Chat, including Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and Google said the workplace chat service will come with 25 bots pre-installed, created by third-party developers. Companies that have already confirmed bots include Xero, Freshdesk, Kayak, Egnyte, and more.
Use artificial intelligence to speed up workflows. When your teams collaborate in Chat, you can speed up manual work, like booking conference rooms, searching for files and more using artificial intelligence.
Schedule meetings, create tasks, or get updates from your team right within Chat. In addition to useful integrations with G Suite apps, Chat connects to several third-party tools, helping you manage all of your work in one place.
At launch, Hangouts Chat supports 28 languages and each room can include up to 8,000 members. In terms of security, Google said Hangouts Chat will follow the G Suite promise of a "security-first ecosystem," with features like single sign-on, two-factor authentication, admin settings, integration with Google Vault, and more.
For businesses that embrace Hangouts Chat, Google noted that it is compatible with the original Hangouts software, so it will surface the user's existing contacts when they sign up. The company said it's rolling out the new app over the next week for G Suite users at no additional cost to their subscription. Once launched, Hangouts Chat will be available on Mac, PC, iOS [Direct Link], and Android devices.