About a week ago Google quietly launched a new service called “Meet by Hangouts”. Not much was known about it since only the website was available, but from what we could tell it appeared to be some video conferencing platform based around Hangouts that was clearly aimed at the enterprise sector.
We were curious how this would fit with Hangouts, but as it turns out it doesn’t. In an announcement on its website, Google has announced that they are basically splitting up Hangouts into two separate platform: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, with their functionality pretty much revealing themselves in their names.
According to Google, “Hangouts Meet is a new video meeting experience with one goal: make joining meetings effortless so that people can be as productive as they are when they’re face-to-face.” As for Chats, “Hangouts Chat is an intelligent communication app for teams that takes direct messaging in Hangouts and evolves it to reflect the way modern teams talk business,” which basically sounds like Google’s attempt compete with apps such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.
The original Hangouts will continue to exist so if you want to chat with friends via the platform, not to worry as it is still there. However this latest move certainly reflects what Google had previously promised, which is that they were planning on making Hangouts more business-centric. Hangouts Meet is already available but Chat is expected to be made available through the Early Adopter Program, meaning it isn’t open to all users just yet.