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Google Hangouts' new features make work meetings slightly less annoying

With Meet and Chat, Hangouts rolls out video conferencing and chat rooms for businesses. Because synergy!

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Planning the sales department's summer luau/layoffs gets even easier with Meet.

Google

The only thing worse than actual meetings is meeting logistics. To help make planning a tad more tolerable, Google is rolling out two new features in its communication and messaging app, Hangouts. (Unfortunately, neither tools help decrease the utterances of such phrases like "How will this scale?" and "Run it up the flagpole.")

The first is a video conferencing feature called Hangouts Meet. Meet allows people to hop on meetings via a web link through their laptops or mobile app. This link can be shared in an email or directly through a Google Calendar invite. Colleagues who are traveling without Internet can use a dedicated dial-in phone number.

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Messaging in Chat (left) and using the @meet bot to schedule a meeting (right).

Google

The second feature is Hangouts Chat, which lets coworkers message each other in dedicated chat rooms. In Chats you can share files, photos and videos. You can also call upon bots in these rooms. For example, "@meet," will look at everyone's Calendar and find an open slot to schedule a meeting.

There are already a lot of services out there like Microsoft Teams, Slack and Dropbox that aim to make work meetings and collaboration easier. One of Hangouts' benefits, though, is that it's included in Google's G Suite (the company's cloud-based productivity and collaboration platform for businesses), and therefore is deeply integrated with other Google apps like Calendar (as mentioned before), Drive and Docs.

Hangouts Meet is available now to all G Suite customers, while Chat will be made available through G Suite's Early Adopter Program.