Microsoft Teams gets a new competitor as Google introduces Hangouts Chat

Google is today introducing a revamped Hangouts for its business customers. The search engine giant is splitting up Hangouts into two parts: Chat, and Meet. Hangouts Meet is basically a video calling service for business meetings, just like Skype. Hangouts Chat, on the other hand, is much more interesting.

With its new Hangouts Chat service, Google is taking on Microsoft’s Teams service as well as Slack. Hangouts Chat is a communication tool for teams who use G Suite (which is basically Google’s version of Microsoft’s Office 365). Microsoft Teams, on the other hand, is built for businesses who use Office 365 and rely on Microsoft OneDrive, Exchange, Power BI, etc.

On Hangouts Chat, users can send one-to-one messages, or they can simply start a group chat — known as “Rooms”. Everything on Hangouts Chat is integrated with Google’s other services such as Google Docs, Sheet, Calendar, and especially Drive. Google says the company will also allow teams to add different type of bots to conversations — for instance, there’s a bot for Hangouts Meet which keeps you updated with all of your upcoming meetings.

At the moment, Hangouts Chat is a pretty minimal messaging app for teams. When compared to Slack or even Microsoft Teams, Google’s Hangouts Chat doesn’t look very impressive. Both Microsoft Teams and Slack includes strong bot integration. Microsoft has also integrated some of its most used services into Teams, services like Planner and Power BI are pretty well incorporated into Teams.

Hangouts Chat will only be available on the web, Android and iOS — both Microsoft Teams and Slack, however, are available across all platforms, including Windows, MacOS, Web, Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

Google is launching Hangouts Chat in a limited preview today, and interested G Suite users can sign-up here. Microsoft, interestingly, is set to bring its Teams service out of preview next week.

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