Google is now officially rebranding Hangouts Chat in its enterprise G Suite to Google Chat. No, this does not mean that GChat is making a comeback as it was once known. Rather the branding change applies only to the enterprise version of Google’s products.
This move comes after Google Hangouts Meet, the video calling app was rebranded to Google Meet. The Hangouts branding has officially been dropped from GSuite, which is the paid enterprise version of Google’s service. GSuite includes access to Gmail, Google Docs, Sheets, etc, but for enterprises or companies, and is a paid service.
Google confirmed the change in branding to The Verge, which first reported this. The Hangouts brand name will however, continue for the regular consumer version of Gmail. “There will be no changes to the consumer (classic) version of Hangouts,” a Google spokesperson told the publication.
For regular users, their Gmail account and iOS or Android device will continue to have access to the Hangouts version designed for consumers. Hangouts was originally known as GChat, which used to be very popular, till it lost the game to other instant messaging services, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc with the growth of smartphones.
So what has changed?
Google has only dropped the Hangouts branding for its Chat service. The Google Chat service remains the same on enterprise, and is designed for productivity, rather than the simple one-on-one messages for Google Hangouts in the regular consumer version of Gmail.
Chats on GSuite has features like Rooms, which is designed for teams. People can share files, message other team members in these rooms. Just like Slack, Google Chat has bots to let users access other apps, assign tasks, schedule meetings, etc.
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For video-conferencing, Google has a separate app: Google Meet, which was earlier called Google Hangouts Meet. This is again limited to enterprise users. Google Meet has seen a surge in users, which is not surprising consider the new work from home norms that are prevailing all across the world.
In a blog post, Google revealed that earlier this week they have seen more than 2 million new users connecting on Google Meet every day who are spending 2 billion minutes together. This is averaging to more than 3,800 years of meetings. It had also announced that it was making advanced Google Meet video-conferencing capabilities available at no cost to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers, which has been extended till September 30, 2020.
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