Google has announced that it is rebranding G Suite to Google Workspace for business customers. Integral to the Workspace experience is Google Chat, which provides a means of business communications with colleagues in a similar vein as Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Mattermost.
What is Google Chat?
Google Chat is a secure communications tool designed to provide easy business communications within the Google Workspace ecosystem.
With Google Chat, teams collaborate via text, build collaborative chat rooms, share documents, deliver presentations, and establish web conferences.
In this post, we look at the following:
Collaboration options from Google
Google Chat pricing
Google Chat integrations
Is Google Chat right for your organization?
Collaboration Options from Google
When it comes to team collaboration, Google has several important apps in its ecosystem. Here’s a breakdown of how each works.
1 – Google Chat
Google Chat was called Hangouts Chat and worked as a more business-oriented version of the consumer Hangouts. Google Chat expands on the features of the standard version of Hangouts by adding a plethora of team collaboration features and integrations.
How do I use Google chat?
Google Chat is easily accessible in Google Workspace. To access it, use the Google app launcher button in any Workspace application.
How do I use Google chat?
The app launcher appears as a gridded set of dots along the upper right-hand side of your screen. Click this grid, and a series of apps, including Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, and Drive, will appear. Chat will typically appear on the second line.
Once selected, a list of people that you can chat with will be populated along the left side of the screen.
It’ll also provide you with data like presence information and whether specific colleagues are online. Click on the name to begin a conversation. Type in the intended message and click the send button, which is shaped like a triangle, to send.
Google Chat has some handy functions. The software uses predictive text options to automate replies. For example, if a coworker says, “Good afternoon,” Google will provide you a list of appropriate answers like, “Hello, how are you?”
Once a chat is established, you share spreadsheets and documents from Google Drive. Any participant will then be able to access the file via Google Docs.
Additionally, adding things like video meeting links is done very quickly through the chat UI. Once placed in chat, Google Chat will provide a clickable meeting for colleagues to use.
What is the difference between Google Chat and Google Hangouts?
According to Google, Chat, “Is an intelligent communication app for teams that takes direct messaging in Google Hangouts and evolves it to reflect the way modern teams talk business.”
As a result, Google Chat is something like the evolution of Hangouts. It grants that same one-on-one communication but expands on it to be more effective in a business setting.
Important features available in Hangouts like read receipts, video and audio conferencing, and image sharing are all available through Chat.
In addition, more robust, collaboration-friendly features also come standard.
Team Chat Channels: Conversations are converted into rooms in Google Chat. Slack users will find that this is like the channels feature. With rooms, your team will have a central location to share files, delegate tasks, and communicate during a project lifecycle. There are message threads for those looking to delegate individual tasks to specific team members.
Larger Video Chat Capacities: With Hangouts, you’re limited to 10 attendees, but Chat expands this thanks to its paid structure. With Chat, you’ll have a max of 250 participants for any video chat.
Google Meet Integration: This is probably one of the better features of Chat. When you want to set up a meeting, you simply tag Google Meet with the meeting attendees. After that, you only need to mention the proposed meeting date, and the calendar appointment is automatically created.
2 – Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts is a useful tool for smaller businesses that don’t need extensive team collaboration features and need a quick and easy way to communicate. With it, you share images, make audio and video calls, or send links.
How do you use Google Hangouts?
To start a Hangouts chat session, click on a user’s email and click the Hangouts icon or click the camera icon for a video chat. Hangouts is accessed in a similar way to Chat.
Click the Google Apps grid, and Hangouts will display on the list of apps.
Is Google Hangouts free to use?
Google Hangouts is a 100% free-to-use component of a standard Google account, so anyone with a Gmail address has access. Compared to Google Chat, Hangouts is relatively bare-bones – you can’t file share, and video calls have a limit of 10 people.
How many people can be in a Google Hangout?
Google Hangouts allows you to talk with 150 people simultaneously in a single conversation.
3 – Google Meet
Video meetings technically aren’t native to Google Chat.
In fact, the core functionality is simple business chatting.
Still, integration with Google’s meeting solution, Google Meet, is so well integrated into Chat that you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was all the same program.
Google Meet is still its own solution that provides you with the ability to hold HD video conferences and presentations.
Since this is integrated into Google Workspace, as long as you are within the Google ecosystem, it’s easy to start or schedule a meeting.
In fact, in most cases, you’ll have to share a link, so there’s no need for extra plugins, downloads, or any extra steps.
The software is also natively accessible when users are signed in on Chrome. With Meet, you can even share single tabs from the Chrome browser when you’re holding a presentation.
One of the newer features of Google Meet includes the ability to blur your background. This allows you to hold meetings where objects in the background won’t provide any unneeded distractions.
You can also add a virtual background to replace your own background with something more formal or fun.