Google's Hangouts Chat Goes Live: G Suite Infused With More AI To Drive Collaboration


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Google bulked up G Suite with new collaboration capabilities Wednesday, many centered around the Hangouts Chat solution that went generally available with the latest release.

The latest G Suite upgrade infuses more artificial intelligence across the office productivity suite to make team projects run more efficiently.

Chat, now generally available as a core G Suite service, enters a crowded communications and collaboration market, going up against products like Slack, HipChat and Microsoft Teams, as well as Facebook's new Workplace solution.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Accenture Ditches Midsize G Suite Customers, Driving Business To Regional VARs]

"From direct messages to group conversations, Chat help teams collaborate easily and efficiently. With dedicated, virtual rooms to house projects over time—plus threaded conversations—Chat makes it simple to track progress and follow up tasks," blogged Scott Johnston, the product's director.

Chat integrates with the full spectrum of G Suite apps such as Docs, Sheets, Drive and Hangouts Meet. And Google's search tool can be used to locate information created in the collaboration platform.

Google, with the latest G Suite update, also extended the Quick Access function for predicting files that users need from Drive to Docs. The G Suite Calendar app also has new AI functionality that recommends rooms for scheduled meetings and events.

More than 20 Google technology partners have built bots on Google's platform to automate integrated functionality, including Salesforce, Egnyte, Jira, Trello and Kayak.

Aric Bandy, president of Agosto, a Minneapolis-based Google partner, told CRN Google is consistently adding major enhancements to both G Suite and Hangouts.

"In the last two years, I've seen a significant increase in releasing more and more enterprise-oriented features," Bandy said.

Hangouts follows that pattern. With new features, and the Chrome-based teleconferencing hardware, the platform is disrupting a market that's been stagnant for a decade, Bandy said.

"More and more Fortune 500 companies are asking us to help them implement G Suite and Hangouts because of these new releases," Bandy said.

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