We learned earlier this week that Microsoft will take the preview label off their Microsoft Teams collaboration tool next week and of course Slack is always working to make their product the resource of choice for teams everywhere.
Is there room for a third player in this arena of work focused chat, video calls, and file sharing?
Well Google wants to poke their head in and try to make a case for a new product they announced this week called Hangouts Meet and Hangout Chats. Both of these services will be part of G Suite and not offered separately.
According to Scott Johnston, Google Director of Product Management for Hangouts, the entire goal of Hangouts Meet and Chat was to create a way for team members to effortlessly join a team video call or conversation.
Their definition of effortless is that both internal and external team members can easily join the meeting with a single click. This means no headaches trying to download web browser plugins and get them configured to work properly with the users device video/audio hardware.
Portability is also a key feature so that call participants can join on any device from any location.
Hangout Meets supports full screen presentations and it integrates with G Suite so that meeting information can be embedded in a scheduled calendar event. G Suite Enterprise customers also get a dedicated dial in number for participants to join the call if necessary.
Image via Google
Now just take all of what has been said above about Hangouts Meet and apply it to Hangouts Chat.
These chat rooms are permanent spots to discuss team projects, share documents from G Suite Drive and Docs, plus they are fully searchable so you can find that obscure reference many days after the conversation happened.
Chat also supports bots, scripting, and can access third party applications. Some initial partners in this area are Box and Zendesk.
To top it all of there is a hangouts Chat Bot that can assist your team in scheduling future meetings as the discussions happen.
Hangout Meets has begun its roll out and will gradually become available to all G Suite customers over the next few weeks. You will need to request access to the Early Adopter program to get access to Hangout Chats right now.
Having produced most of our hands on coverage for Microsoft Teams last fall, there are a lot of similarities between these services beginning with they are only available if you are a subscriber to the companies productivity suite. Ultimately, I think this battle might be won by which product you have already purchased because the team collaboration tools is an add on to that service and not something you can use separately if you even wanted.
What will be interesting to see is which has a greater impact on subscription growth compared to the normal growth each service has seen prior to the release of these services.
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