Google’s Apps for Business have evolved a lot over time, and the present G Suite now competes with Windows 365 for its comprehensive business applications. You’re probably familiar with Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive as well as maybe even Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms; however, one tool in the suite remains a mystery to many curious business professionals who haven’t taken the time to discover its possibilities: Hangouts—specifically Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.

Google Hangouts Meet

Thanks to Hangouts Meet, your conference room is about to look completely different.

Wait, there are two Hangouts?

The “Hangouts” product evolved from a text and video messaging feature of Google+ to a stand-alone app in 2013, and since that time, its evolution has only continued. In 2016, when Google announced Google Allo and Google Duo, an AI messaging app and video-calling app respectively, the future of Hangouts was unclear, but in March of 2017, Hangouts was once again in the spotlight as it was split into two services: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.

Citing the statistic from Fast Company that potentially more than 50% of the workforce will work remotely by 2020, Google stressed that these two products are designed to revolutionize video conferencing and remote collaboration.

Whether Google will be the future of business applications or not, we’re not making any predictions, but in the meantime, taking the time to explore what Google Hangouts can do for your business is a worthy exercise.

What is Google Hangouts Meet?

Conference calls can admittedly be awkward. There’s the constant “This is Kris” or “This is Frank” repetition to make sure everyone listening knows who is speaking. There are awkward interruptions because without the face-to-face interaction, group conversations become a bit clunky.

Video conference calls are hardly new to the business world, but where Hangouts Meet stands out is in its ease-of-use. There are no clunky downloads or logins—only a link to click to collaborate with users inside or outside of your organization. This light interface enables a fast meeting start, so you can get straight to business.

With video conferences that can hold up to 25 people with G Suite Basic or Business—up to 30 with G Suite Enterprise—as well as screen-sharing and easy moderation tools, Hangouts Meet isn’t just another app to remain curious about. It’s one worth checking out.

Additional notable features of Hangouts Meet:
  • The video of the person speaking will always show in the main window.
  • No internet connection is required. Participants can choose to dial in from any phone.
  • If the video is being slow, you can switch from 720p to 360p streaming video.
  • For inbound and outbound calling, you can use your Google Voice number.
  • For screen-sharing, you can share your full desktop or a selected app/window.
  • The meeting leader can even mute or remove participants if necessary.

What is Google Hangouts Chat?

Still only in use by those in Google’s early adopter program, Hangouts Chat seems to combine the functionality of classic messenger apps with project-based organization. By creating chat-based meeting rooms for every ongoing project, attachments can easily be shared and progress can be closely monitored without having to return to multiple past conversations or email threads.

Early reviews are positive, and we’re interested in seeing Hangouts Chat in action soon.

In Conclusion

Every division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, seems to focus on experimentation and new strategies for the future, and all of the products in G Suite are no different. Whether Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat have staying power or not, we don’t know; however they are new tools we recommend investigating.

What better way to keep your company on the cutting edge than to use the cutting edge tools designed to enable your success?

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