Google has updated Hangouts Chat to compete with business software makers including Microsoft Corp and Slack Technologies, Inc. The service that lets users message each other in private or in groups is now generally available and becoming a core part of G Suite. All the G Suite users will be getting it in the next seven days.
Hangouts Chat was unveiled an year ago last March and was first rolled out as a part of an Early Adopter Program. It is quite similar to Slack and is available in 28 languages. Its chat groups can contain up to 8,000 members along with a tight integration with Google’s other services including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Vault, and Hangouts Meet. Though Google was a bit late in the business-messaging service in comparison with Slack and Microsoft, it believes it can differentiate itself from the competition by making improvements in a few areas. The company has already partnered with the likes of Xero, RingCentral, UberConference, Salesforce, Trello, Wrike who will integrate with Chat by offering their own bots.
Hangouts Chat will use Google’s AI and 25 bots to make workflows more efficient. The @Drive alerts bot, for instance, will alert the user when added to a file, comments are made, or when people request access to documents. Scott Johnston, director of product management at Google, said, “I see this as the second incantation of Hangouts. We want to move toward helping people move faster at work.”