In an effort to make communication among team members effortless, Google has decided to split Hangouts into two separate apps, enabling teams to connect via video or text.
Google said that they have no intentions of getting rid of Hangouts, but are working on the app to provide a new experience focused on meetings and team-play; Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.
Hangouts Meet is a video meeting experience with an ultimate goal, to make joining meetings effortless so people can be as productive as when they meet face-to-face. It supports up to 30-person video conferences and only requires users to participate via Calendar, an email invite or a shared link. No account or additional downloads needed. The video service is also said to integrate with G Suite, so users can get all info about each meeting automatically pulled from Calendar.
Hangout Chat (which seems like a take on Slack) on the other hand, is a group chatting service specially tailored for teams. In it, comes dedicated, virtual rooms that allow for threaded conversations for easy follow of progress and discussions. Like Meet, Chat is also integrated with G Suite so users can share content from Docs and Drive, as well as photos and videos, which can be viewed in conversation. Chat also provides features like chat bots, Google App Script support and integration with third-party apps.
According to Google, the Hangouts Meet service will start rolling out today to all G Suite customers over the next few weeks. If you wish to try Hangout Chat, you can apply via the Early Adopter Program.