Tech Shorts
Hangouts Chat is a workplace software package that comes with Google's G Suite.

Google’s Hangouts received an update with the objective of making the program work effectively across organizations. The update makes Hangouts Chat compatible with the leading business software deployed in companies and communicating within a networked business setup will become easier.

As employees create chat groups to instantly share messages, Google Hangouts Chat will make it possible for them to seamlessly exchange information, data and images. It will also permit the users to access data from other programs running within the organization’s network and share it where relevant.

This Hangouts Chat has now become a part of the G-Suite package that Google offers its customers for a fee. It will sit alongside the other programs like word processing tools. Google has over 4 million subscribers of G-Suite internationally. Though the subscribers pay $25 per month for availing these services, Google had offered it for free when it was launched in 2013 first. Google is intending to facilitate businesses in conducting their operations smoother and faster.

The update that Google/Alphabet has now released is also meant to take on competition from Microsoft and Slack. Microsoft offers the feature with similar functionalities within its Office 365 suite that is also not a free service and it has many more subscribers than Google has.

Chat app Slack is also seen by many customers as a more convenient alternative to emails within organizations and is ramping up its subscription base. A survey by IDC puts the share of the collaborative software market at around 37% for Microsoft and 5% for Slack. The overall market is being assessed at around $2billion.

For individual one-to-one chats the Google Hangouts applications comes free. The enterprise version now integrated into the G-Suite permits up to 8,000 participants in a single group. Google runs many of these new programs in-house and then offers them commercially. In Hangouts used within Google for example, they have added the bug-tracking, employee directory and IT support systems also into it. Similar options are given to the customers.

Going beyond these features, Google has developed artificial intelligence based tools to help in routine business activities. One of them is a meeting scheduler tool. This gets integrated into the Google Calendar program where it can analyze the seating requirements and conference room availability to suggest the ideal location to hold the meeting. Finally, Hangouts Chat also pairs with the tele-conferencing software Hangouts Meet.