Last March, Google revamped Hangouts for the enterprise by splitting it into separate Meet and Chat apps. The former is for video conferencing and has been available for several months now, while the latter messaging component is launching today.
Hangouts Chat is now available for all G Suite users after several months of private testing in the Early Adopter Program.
As a Slack competitor, Hangouts Chat features many of the same features popularized in recent years. This includes the ability to create dedicated rooms that support up to 8,000 participants, threaded conversations, and bots.
As a core G Suite service, Google is leveraging how Hangouts Chat is deeply integrated with its other work offerings. This includes uploading items from Drive, as well as collaborating in Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Meanwhile, it is integrated with Hangouts Meet for video and has access to a powerful search feature to find past conversations and files.
On the security front, Google notes an enterprise-grade solution with integrated support for Vault, so that administrators can archive, preserve, search, and export Chat-specific data.
The company is also emphasizing its machine learning and artificial intelligence prowess to speed up workflows.
Meanwhile, at launch, the service has 25 bots. A @Drive bot will alert you to files shared with you, while @Meet works to schedule meetings in Google Calendar. Google is opening the platform for third-parties to create their own, with the following companies already having developed bots.