Google Hangouts is finally making a clean cut from broadcast use and will split into two core functions: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. If the two apps seem to scream “Duo” and “Allo” to you, you wouldn’t be far off from the truth.
Hangouts Meet is an application that allows for many accounts to join in on a discussion from Google Calendar as well as the traditional email and link shares. There’s also a dedicated mobile app. The interface has G Suite apps integrated. G Suite Enterprise users also can utilize call-in numbers for meetings.
Hangouts Chat disintegrates the messaging aspect of Hangouts into its own app. Like Meet, G Suite apps are easily accessible from within the app. Threaded conversations make a return and in-chat search is now available. A new @meet bot also allows users to schedule meetings easily.
Google Drive for business has been updated with Team Drives to clean up the mess that is shared documents without having to switch accounts. A new Drive feature called Google Vault that allows companies to net documents that may need to be retained for legal and policy purposes. Drive File Stream can let users with little hard disk space left stream files back and forth from the cloud and manages offline files efficiently. Quick Access is introduced as a smarter search backed by machine intelligence to tell when to float the files that are needed at the time.
Google also has acquired AppBridge and is integrating enterprise-scale cloud migration and content management between the cloud and local systems.
Most of these tools are being tested at an early access stage. Hangouts Meet is spreading to all G Suite customers starting from today. Hangouts Chat is being trialed through an Early Adopter Program. Here’s to trading swipes at Slack and Microsoft Teams.