Google Hangouts gets down to business with renewed life as an enterprise venture for video conferencing and, sure, digital marketing presentations.
Hangouts, Google’s long-standing video and texting platform – before any of that was the rage (back in 2013) – has always been easy to use, if not always reliable or without dreaded glitches.
But Google insists the “new” Hangouts, divided into video conferencing, called Meet, and threaded text streams, call Chat, will find itself invaluable to businesses while also competing with Microsoft Teams and Slack as inter- or intra-office communication tools.
And most importantly, Google promises, the quality will improve substantially.
“Hangouts Meet is a new video meeting experience with one goal: make joining meetings effortless so that people can be as productive as they are when they’re face-to-face,” promises Google. “We’ve consistently heard from customers about ways we can improve Hangouts, like making it easier to work with external clients or reducing the ‘time to start’ a meeting to zero. That’s why we’ve built Hangouts Meet to have a light, fast interface and smart participant management.
“Running 30-person video conferences smoothly is easy with Meet,” Google continues. “Simply start your meetings with a shared link — no accounts, plugins, downloads or hassles. Meet provides a place for everyone to join from Calendar, an email invite or an ad-hoc share. If you’re dialing in from a conference room, your laptop or using the dedicated mobile app, just a few clicks and you’re in.”
The key to this new effort will be, of course, ease and what’s termed a “frictionless” video conferencing experience, meaning the system needs to work flawlessly to attract long-term customers. The price will also be a huge factor because it appears Google will offer the new Hangouts Meet as just another tool in G Suite. Microsoft and Slack both charge extra for the groovy features offered in Hangouts.
The text portion of the renewed Hangouts, Chat, will also become home to added features.
“Dedicated, virtual rooms create a lasting home for each project, with threaded conversations so your team’s progress is easy to follow,” says Google. “Chat’s deep integration with G Suite means shared content from Drive and Docs, or photos and videos can be viewed directly in conversations. And powerful, filterable search in Chat makes it easy to find all your content dating back to the start of the project.
“The Hangouts Chat platform supports a wide range of capabilities — from bots to simple scripting using Google App Script — and integrates with third-party applications so teams can do more right from within the conversation. Some companies we’re teaming up with to build out the platform include: Asana, Box, Prosperworks and Zendesk. And to make workflows even easier, Chat features @meet, an intelligent bot built on top of the Hangouts platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to automatically schedule meetings for your team with Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar.”
Did you get that part abougt the @meet bot? Yea, it will scan the calendars of participants and schedule meetings. That’s pretty cool.
YouTube to TV
Speaking of Google transitioning its products into new lives, YouTube is going to television.
What’s that you say? You thought YouTube was TV? Yea, well, it pretty much is for the millions of viewers who now watch over 1 billion hours of YouTube each day. (Let that stat sink in for a minute: 1 billion hours each day.)
So, answering the obvious call, Google is going full TV with YouTube TV, a streaming service to compete with Netflix, Hulu and all the other internet TV streaming services.
- Live TV streaming from ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, regional sports networks and dozens of popular cable networks. YouTube TV gives you the best of live TV, from must-see broadcast shows like “Empire,” “The Voice,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Scandal,” to the live sports you want. YouTube TV includes major sports networks like ESPN and regional sports networks like Fox Sports Networks and Comcast SportsNet, so you can watch your favorite NBA or MLB teams. We’ve also partnered with local TV stations, so you’ll also get sports and local news based on where you live. And YouTube TV offers dozens of additional cable channels, so you won’t miss out on the latest news from MSNBC or Fox News, popular shows and movies from USA or FX, kids programming from the Disney Channel or Sprout, or reality TV from E! or Bravo. You can also add Showtime, or Fox Soccer Plus to your networks for an additional charge. In total, YouTube TV gives you access to more than 40 networks, listed below.
- A cloud DVR, with no storage limits. With YouTube TV, you’ll be able to record live TV and never run out of storage. Your cloud DVR can record as many shows as you want, simultaneously, without using precious data or space on your phone and we’ll store each of your recordings for nine months.
- A service that works great on all your screens. You can watch YouTube TV on any screen—mobile, tablet or computer—and you can easily stream to your TV with a Google Chromecast or Chromecast built-in TV. YouTube TV works on both Android and iOS. And your cloud DVR goes with you, so you can stream your recordings on any device, whenever and wherever you want.
- YouTube Red Originals. With a YouTube TV membership, you can watch all of our YouTube Red Original series and movies right on the new YouTube TV app.
- Six accounts, one price. Every YouTube TV membership comes with six accounts, each with its own unique recommendations and personal DVR with no storage limits. You can watch up to three concurrent streams at a time.
- Half the cost of cable with zero commitments. A YouTube TV membership is only $35 a month and there are no commitments—you can cancel anytime.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!