Google's messaging app for groups -- Hangouts Chat -- used to be only for people in the company's early adopter program. But this week, Google is releasing it to any corporate customer who wants to use it.
Hangouts Chat lets co-workers, or any group of people, message each other in dedicated chat rooms. People can also share files, photos and videos. These messages can either be private or shared with various groups.
"From direct messages to group conversations, Chat helps teams collaborate easily and efficiently," Scott Johnston, director of product management for Google Drive, wrote in a blog post Wednesday. "With dedicated, virtual rooms to house projects over time -- plus threaded conversations -- Chat makes it simple to track progress and follow up tasks."
This may sound familiar. That's because there are already a lot of other services like this out there, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and Dropbox, which aim to make work meetings and collaboration easier.
Hangouts Chat is included in Google's G Suite (the company's cloud-based productivity and collaboration platform that businesses pay for), and therefore is deeply integrated with other Google apps like Calendar, Drive and Docs.
People who want to use Hangouts Chat need to be signed up to G Suite. It will become available over the next week. People can access Hangouts Chat via a web browser client or through an app on iOS and Android.
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