If you work remotely or in a large organization, chances are your company uses Slack for business-related communication. It's something we use here at Android Central every single day, and Google's hoping it can steal away Slack loyalists with the launch of Hangouts Chat.
Hangouts Chat was first announced about a year ago last March, and it was first rolled out as part of an Early Adopter Program. However, Google's now making Hangouts Chat a core feature of its G Suite so anyone can download and use it right away.
Similar to Slack and other related apps, Hangouts Chat allows you create various group chats and communicate one-on-one with other employees via direct messages. Hangouts Chat is available in 28 languages, chat groups/rooms can hold up to 8,000 members each, and you'll find tight integration with Google's other services — including Docs, Sheets, Slides, Vault, and Hangouts Meet.
And, of course, this wouldn't be a Google product without some use of AI. According to Google:
When your teams collaborate in Chat, you can speed up manual work, like booking conference rooms, searching for files and more using artificial intelligence.
To help increase your productivity even more, Hangouts Chat also supports bots. There are 25 available at launch, including ones from Xero, Freshdesk, Kayak, Trello, Zenefits, and others.
Hangouts Chat has dedicated apps for Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac. If you're like me and have a laptop running Chrome OS, you'll need to use Hangout Chat's web app or use the Android app that's not optimized for large displays.