Google Hangouts Morphs Into Chat and Meet

Google has had a messy history with social messaging. Remember Google Talk? It now seems so long ago. But it was not the only one. Google followed it up with a multitude of similar products one after other, most of which have been epic misfires. Buzz's severe privacy flaws meant it was dead on arrival, and indeed, it was shuttered within two years of its launch in 2011 while simultaneously paving the way for Google+ and its accompaniment G+ Messenger/Huddle, the latter of which was superseded by Hangouts in August 2013. This is discounting its other initiatives like Google Voice and Android SMS app Messages, to which Google has been steadily adding advanced messaging features like file transfer, group chat etc.

Then came Posts (a one-way social network), Spaces (to be shut down this April 17), Who's Down (already shut down) and lastly Allo and Duo, the search giant's official chat apps for messaging and video calling. The company, meanwhile, didn't offer any concrete details as to what it would do with Hangouts, only offering a vague indication that it would be repurposed for business communication. Until now. According to an official announcement made yesterday, Hangouts, aside from being integrated with G Suite (previously Google Apps), will be used for team messaging just like Slack and Microsoft's soon-to-be-released Teams. It is also being split into two - Hangouts Chat (for group messaging) and Meet (a video conferencing tool that debuted on Chrome/iOS late last month). Will Google's strategy work this time? Let's hope so!

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