In news that is not totally surprising, Google has confirmed that they are indeed rebranding their Hangouts Chat to just Google Chat. This comes after they also previously changed Hangouts Meet to, you guessed it, Google Meet. This means that the Hangouts brand has now been removed from its G Suite enterprise offerings. But if you think that this means Google’s communications offerings have finally been streamlined and is now less confusing, that’s not exactly true for now. Hopefully, in the future, they’ll be able to do so.
The Verge says that this rebranding was first seen in an updated G Suite document that showed both Hangout apps being called Google Meet and Google Chat. The former is the videoconferencing app that was first rebranded last week while the latter is a chat app that is similar to Slack in that it’s more for workplace productivity. So basically, the Hangouts branding is officially gone from G Suite Enterprise.
This doesn’t mean that Hangouts is actually totally gone from Google. It still lives on as a consumer chat app which has none of the enterprise powers of Google Chat. It’s just more of a one-on-one messaging app for Google users. To still add even more to the confusion, Google Chat should not be confused with the RCS-based Android messaging protocol, which they named Chat. The latter was rolled out last November as the primary texting platform for Android.
Google has been notorious for their messaging strategy and it looks like they’re still not close to having a unified or at least a less confusing solution. They were supposed to shut down Hangouts for G Suite last year but suddenly changed their mind in August last year. There’s been no update about this or any future plans for the Hangouts brand, so for now, it still exists for the foreseeable future.
As for G Suite enterprise users, expect Google to rollout features or at least a marketing campaign for both Google Meet and Google Chat. They need to catch up with all the Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc that are taking advantage of this work-from-home situation we find ourselves in.