Hangouts is part of the daily life of millions of companies. We often use this tool to communicate with colleagues, customers or anyone we want to send a message to. Over time, other tools such as Slack have been improving their features and gaining market share from Google. As could not be otherwise, the US multinational has reacted. Google Chat is already a reality, and in a short period of time, it will have completely replaced Hangouts..
But let's start at the beginning. Google created G Suite a few years ago to achieve an integrated experience with communication and collaboration tools. Recently, this platform has been rebranded as Google Workspace and brings together applications such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Documents, Meet, Chat...
What is Google Chat?
Google Chat is a communication tool that allows us to send messages to one or more contacts, maintain conversations with a group of users through rooms and use bots to automate our work. In addition, you can connect your account with countless applications to create a great communication experience.
What is going to happen with Hangouts?
The emergence of Google Chat will put an end to Hangouts as we know it. The famous tool will no longer be available and will disappear from our Gmail in the first half of 2021. Although we do not yet know the exact date, Google has assured that at any time it may cease to be operational. When the time comes, our individual conversation history will be automatically migrated to Google Chat. However, the groups we have active in Hangouts will not be migrated, therefore, we will lose the conversations. This can be a problem for many companies, so it is recommended to create those same groups manually in Google Chat before Hangouts becomes inoperative.
What can we do in Google Chat?
As mentioned above, Google Chat is the new Hangouts 2.0. The functionalities already available in the previous tool are joined by a large number of options that allow us to optimize our communication.
Send messages to a user and communicate with them privately, just as you did in Hangouts.
Just like in Hangouts so far, chat directly with a group of people. Be careful! We can only create groups with people from our organization.
This is one of the main new features of Google Chat. A centralized space where users can share files, assign tasks and keep in touch to manage a project with a group of people. To give us an idea, it is very similar to the channels we create in Slack.
- Unlike groups, you can include people from outside your organization.
- The rooms cannot be deleted, but you can leave them whenever you want.
- If you select a certain type of room, you can create threads, similar to what we do on Twitter, but be careful, this setting cannot be changed afterwards.
- Maximum 8000 people per room.
- You can join rooms by searching for a certain name.
- If you mention someone in a room (@xxx) they can join the room directly.
- You can share Drive documents.
Differences between rooms and groups
The main new feature of Google Chat is the appearance of rooms, but what is the difference between rooms and groups?
|Target||Collaborate and communicate in teams or to carry out projects.||Communicate through direct messages with two or more people.|
|Conversations||Choose between having several conversations where messages are grouped together or displaying a stream of unorganized messages.||Messages do not appear organized in conversations/threads.|
|Name||The creator of a room names it.||The names of the members are displayed. You can add a name to the groups. If you name one it will become a room. You will not be able to revert this change.|
|Create and assign tasks||It is possible to create tasks and assign them to other members of the room.||Only if you convert it into a room, i.e. no.|
|Shared files||A list of shared files in a room can be consulted.||Files can be shared, but a list of shared files cannot be consulted.|
Advanced Google Chat features
In addition to all the aforementioned functions, you can perform a multitude of actions that will take your communication to another level
- Create and collaborate on documents in rooms: at the bottom, click on create document, choose the type, name it and share.
- Create and assign tasks: create, assign, edit and delete tasks. Mark them as complete or incomplete.
- Send and share files in conversations: attach file from computer or attach file from drive. If you leave the room you will lose access to the file.
- Smart reply suggestion: to reply to a message, you can either type the text of your choice or select one of the suggestions. With the "Chat Smart Reply" feature suggestions, you can see possible replies based on the message you have received. The "Smart Reply" feature is currently only available in English.
- Calling: will remove support for Fi (telecom service) and Voice from Hangouts. It will be the Google Messages and Voice applications that will provide a similar user experience. Due to new telecom regulations, the phone call feature in Hangouts will be removed.
- Create, send and include bots: they can be searched using the [/] slash or by adding in the [+] option.
In short, Google Chat is a great tool that has been developed to facilitate communication between users or groups of users.. Google's new platform includes a multitude of features that will completely kill Hangouts. If you are currently working with this tool, we recommend that you start integrating your team into Google Chat. Remember to create groups because these conversations will not be migrated automatically.
See you next time!