Now that a lot of people are working from home and are in need of video conferencing calls, Google has probably dropped the ball on making their Hangouts Meet more relevant. It is there and can be used by G Suite users but there seem to b some branding problems and so Google may not be pushing it as aggressively as they should be. While there is no official rebranding just yet, the header and title of the support site now just says “Google Meet”.
This change is not really that surprising as we knew that Hangouts as a brand was nearing its end date. The consumer-facing Hangouts service is still there but barely hanging on and will eventually be shut down. Google has often said that users there will be transitioned to Hangouts Chat, which is not to be confused with Hangouts Meet, as they separated the chat and video conference functions of the two.
Android Police says that the transition from Hangouts Meet to just Google Meet is a move to disassociate itself from the “negative baggage” that comes with the Hangouts brand. It may also confuse consumers and business users, although the rebranding might just do that as well. All of the Hangouts consumer services are going to be removed eventually and all that will be left is Hangouts Chat. That will probably be changed to Google Chat as well, which ironically is pretty close to the name GChat of old.
All this rebranding will be part of the “unified Google communications platform” which has been a long time coming. For Google Meet, it’s a chance to compete with the likes of Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other video conferencing apps that are pretty high in-demand right now. Well, it will get a chance once it’s been officially renamed and then marketed, especially now that the runaway favorite Zoom is falling from grace.
But for now, only G Suite users will be able to use Hangouts Meet or Google Meet. They do have a 14-day free trial for G Suite, but the way things are going now, we’re probably going to need more than 14 days to stay at home and work through video conferencing calls.