Google Launches Hangouts and Hopes Others Will Just Use Allo and Duo

Google today announced a new version of Hangouts , which is actually two apps: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. Both are for business users, but that doesn’t mean the old Hangouts will disappear entirely. For now.

Hangouts Meet is a video meeting app. It’s not exactly the same as the regular old Hangouts video chat we’ve all used for a long time. Rather than focusing on a Skype-like interface, Hangouts Meet is designed for large-scale video conferencing for up to 30 people, which means one-link sign-in directly from Google Calendar without the need for add-ons. It is available to corporate users from today.

Google also introduces Hangouts Chat, which is basically Google’s version of Slack that uses various bots to make things like scheduling meetings easier. To keep you on your toes, one of the bots is called @meet , and it is for scheduling meetings in Google Meet. In Hangouts Chat have special rooms for different projects, streaming chats (which Slack currently available recently ), filtered search and individual private chat. Since this is Google, everything can be linked to Google Docs, your calendar, or drive. Hangouts Chat is currently only available to companies in the Early Adoption Program.

So these are the new Hangouts products from Google because Hangouts seems to be more of a brand now and not just an application, which might make more sense in the long run.

But what exactly is going on with the regular old Hangouts, a service that replaced GChat / Voice and is still used for video chatting, texting, and phone calls for my mainstream Android users? Or maybe you just know Hangouts as “the thing that sometimes appears in Gmail.”

For now, a consumer version of Hangouts is still around, but Google is clearly pushing you to use two of its new consumer-focused apps with terrible names, Allo and Duo . Allo is for messaging, Duo is for video calls. Talking to TechCrunch, Scott Johnston of Google suggests that the consumer version of Hangouts may get some of these Chat / Meet features in the future. Google’s own product manager for Allo and Duo says Hangouts is “not going anywhere,” but who knows how long that mood will last.

For those following at home, Google has definitely done this with their chat clients before. Before the trio of Allo, Duo and Hangouts, there were Google Talk, Google Voice, Buzz, G + Messenger and the usual old Android SMS app.

Now, Google’s push seems simple: All Hangouts products are for businesses. Allo and Duo are for consumers. Unless you are on a desktop computer, in which case you will be using Hangouts to exchange messages inside Gmail. Or if you want to have a group video chat with several people, because you need to use Hangouts for that too.

It will be a little unbearable for users as things will work out, but for now, everything in the consumer version of Hangouts will remain the same.

Update: Google has clarified the plan a bit from a consumer perspective. At first, Classic Hangouts and Meet / Chat will be released at the same time, but in the future, Classic Hangouts will be updated to Meet / Chat, eventually supplanting Classic Hangouts in both the app and Gmail.


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