Google has unveiled a revamp of its Hangouts chat client in a bid to take-on Slack, the popular collaboration app that is particular popular among IT teams.
It has been known for some time that Google is looking for consumers to migrate to the newer Allo and Duo apps, which it premiered at Google I/O 2016, while Hangouts would continue as a primarily business tool.
Now, the fruits of that decision have been revealed in the form of two new apps - Hangouts Chat and Hangout Meet.
The former is the biggest overhaul of the service since it morphed from Google Talk, back when the company thought Google+ would take over the world. And yes, it's going after Slack.
Although chatting one-to-one is still available, the updated Chat app offers collaboration and group functions that bring it much more into line with its competitors. With Microsoft Teams currently in advanced beta, it seems that Google wants to get its oar in first.
Meanwhile, Hangout Meet is the video conferencing side that adds a combination of Hangouts and Duo to create a video messaging platform that's a bit more in tune with what's out there.
Both have deep integration with GSuite apps and will, at least initially be aimed at those customers. However, there is some talk of this being "freemium", though whether that applies to users who are already subscribing to GSuite is unclear right now.
Google is bigging up the search functionality within the app as well - because after all, it is Google, you'd hope they can manage a good internal search within the apps.
But for consumers it's a bit more frustrating - there's no migration path from Hangouts to Allo and no real incentive to move. The features offered by the new app are worth less than the continuity offered by Hangouts.
It's for that reason that Allo has already dropped out of the Top 500 Google apps in the Play Store.
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