Software

Google powers up latest app it'll cancel in two years: Hangouts Chat

Chocolate fac crack a whack at Slack pack with yak yak stack

By Shaun Nichols in San Francisco

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Google has moved its Slack rival out of beta and into general availability.

The Mountain View advertising house this week formally released Hangouts Chat, the chat-and-collaboration platform thing it teased around this time last year. The system was previously limited to organizations enrolled in Google's Early Adopter Program.

The post-beta software lets netizens create group chats and send direct messages as well as share files. That's pretty standard fare for the collab app genre.

Where Google hopes to separate itself from competitors is by closely integrating Hangouts Chat with its G-Suite productivity apps bundle. The chats app will allow users to pull and share data from Google's calendar and files directly from Google Drive and Google Vault. It will also allow video chat through the Hangouts Meet conferencing service.

Additionally, Google said, Hangouts Chat will offer 25 built-in "bot" functions that give alerts for calendar events and file sharing requests, as well as an API for those who want to develop custom bots to unleash on their customers and co-workers.

The hope is that entrenched G-Suite users will be drawn to a service that will be able to integrate with the apps they already use.

"From direct messages to group conversations, Chat helps teams collaborate easily and efficiently," wrote product management director Scott Johnston on Wednesdsy.

"With dedicated, virtual rooms to house projects over time—plus threaded conversations—Chat makes it simple to track progress and follow up tasks."

Chat was among the new products Google rolled out in 2017 at its Next conference in a bid to pull together its productivity and cloud services to create an even larger services bundle to lure in large enterprise customers. ®

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