Google just launched a rebranded replacement for Hangouts called Meet.
Although Google hasn’t officially announced that Meet will replace Hangouts, the way they rolled this out points to that. It almost looks like they mistakenly set it live in the iOS app store, which has since been pulled down, and set up a basic landing page at meet.google.com with barely any information. The landing page looks exactly like hangouts.google.com but only allows for HD video calls. It’s being reported that Meet is a business focused video chatting app that supports up to 30 participants and also supports many features one would find on business conferencing software like dial in numbers and advanced meeting scheduling. From the screenshots from the now removed iOS app listing, this app looks like a polished version of Hangouts that could be a perfect fit in Google’s G Suite of business apps.
Google has been slowly moving the consumer version of Hangouts to the enterprise and it makes sense that it will eventually be replaced by Meet. They been rebranding their messenging apps recently with the launch of Android Messages and rebranding Hangouts makes sense. Hangouts is known as a consumer facing product and changing the name and overall functionality is important if they want businesses to take the product seriously. There are many enterprise communication tools out there including Slack, Facebook for Business and the recently launched Amazon Chime. Google needs to clearly define it’s solution in order to compete with these impressive products from their competitors. It’s curious that they seem to be slowly killing of consumer features of Hangouts and adding new enterprise features. With the sloppy roll out of Meet, there still is no clear path to a fully enterprise version of Hangouts. Meet looks like a great product but we need more communication from Google in order to clarify their strategy here.