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Sapoto Blog // Google Business News & Tips

Hangouts Chat receives a much-needed upgrade

From our separate locations, the Sapoto team cheered with delight this morning. Not because another day of snow has granted another work-from-home day, but because a major collaboration tool means that our ability to work together isn't hindered if we do so!

Google Hangouts Chat, a messaging platform for teams, is now a core G Suite service. Some of you may be wondering what the big fuss is all about: Hangouts Chat already exists, right?

 Photo courtesy of Google

Photo courtesy of Google

 Photo courtesy of Google

Photo courtesy of Google

In a sense, you're right. Google Hangouts as we know it has been a diligent workhorse for different parties wishing to connect with each other. For those times when email communication was just too slow, or you just wanted to ask a one-line question, Hangouts has been a very useful go-to for organisations and individuals alike.

However, for a long time, Hangouts had the unfortunate reputation of being the only Google App to not contain exclusive features for companies. That's right - in 2016, Google announced the launch of Allo and Duo. These two groundbreaking applications, packed to the rafters with machine learning-enhanced new features, have replaced Hangouts as a communication tool for individuals.

Just as Allo and Duo have replaced Hangouts for individuals, Hangouts Meet (and now) Hangouts Chat have replaced it for organisations. By and large, the purpose of this application, (clue in the name), is to enable teams to chat to each other. But here are a few critical differences between the old and the new:

 Google Allo (left) and Google Duo (right) have replaced Google Hangouts as the instant messaging tool of choice for individuals. You can share location, search for a spot to meet with friends, and use multimedia tools (images, GIFs, video & more) to connect with loved ones. (Courtesy of Photo Arena)

Google Allo (left) and Google Duo (right) have replaced Google Hangouts as the instant messaging tool of choice for individuals. You can share location, search for a spot to meet with friends, and use multimedia tools (images, GIFs, video & more) to connect with loved ones. (Courtesy of Photo Arena)

  • Better integration with other G Suite apps: You can now upload Google Drive files and Google Calendar events to a group chat. A much faster and more reliable means of access for other people in your team than receiving endless notifications within your cluttered Inbox.

  • Search history within Hangouts Chat: The same intelligence which made Google Cloud Search so popular has been incorporated into the new Hangouts Chat. You can now search for shared files and past conversations from within your team chat room.

  • Artificial intelligence: For organisations using meeting rooms already as part of their Google Calendar & Hangouts meet setup, the new Hangouts Chat can put two and two together when it comes to booking conference rooms, saving your team time and effort.

  • Beefed-up security: Hangouts Chat meets GDPR standards, with support for archiving & retention (known as Google Vault).

  • Third-party bots: This addition should be a BIG welcome for many companies who use other applications separate from G Suite. A little bit of individual research will be needed here, but you can use these bots to speed up workflow between your different apps e.g. your G Suite and your Salesforce CRM, or your G Suite and your Xero accounting.

If you're frantically looking around your G Suite dashboard wondering where the new Hangouts Chat is, then don't worry! This rollout is taking place worldwide, and hence may take a bit of time. You should see it active within the next 6-7 days (or by the end of next week at the very latest).