The answer to all the confusion we were facing regarding the multitude of chat application Google seems to have out in the market at the moment is finally here. At its Google Cloud Next Conference, the company has finally shed some light on the future of Duo, Allo, Meeet, Chat and Hangouts are all about.
So here is how Google says things will work: The company has basically split Hangouts into two distinct parts. One is Hangouts Chat, and other other one is Hangouts Meet. While the first one is all about text communication, the second one is all about video and audio communications. There two applications are being seen as the enterprise-facing versions of Allo and Duo respectively.
While Meet is generally already available, Chat is going into Google’s early access program and will be rolled out at a later date. To add to the confusion, the current Hangouts app will also stay around — although, I have no idea what Google intentds to do with it with 4 different apps who perform more or less the same thing. The company may eventually kill off the app but it seems to have set its mind on having Hangouts around for now.
Coming to Hangouts Chat, the app is very similar to Slack. Yes, it is. Apart from all the usual paraphernalia that comes alongside a chat application, this also consists of rooms (for separately getting together with some others) and threads (to discuss some particular topics). Apparently, threading was why it took Google so long to launch these features.
You can also filter conversation based upon the kind of conversation you have had and the kind of files that have been shared in a particular thread or room.
Finally, Google Chats also offers users and developers access to lightweight bots and other scripts that will be able to run right at the onset. Also, Asana, Box, Zendesk and ProsperWork are all launching advanced bots of their own with more in the works.
Next up is Hangouts Meet and according to Google, the idea was to reduce the time it takes to get from one meeting to another. The company had already launched the feature last month so there isn’t particularly much to tell except that all of its features are now available.
Meet attempts to cut all the pain points away. The service will work without any plugins and Google has attested to the fact that it wont be particularly heavy on your battery life. Meanwhile, you can also record meetings and each of the meetings will be provided with a dial-in number so as to ensure that all you have to do is to click on the number to dial into a meeting.
To sum up, Allo and Duo for regular customers and Meet and Chat for enterprise customers. Well personally, I would have thought it would have been smarter had Google attempted to build upon Hangouts’s pre-existing popularity and audience. However, the company certainly has its reasons for branching out into four different directions. Let’s see how well this particular approach serves Google.