Google Chat is the new bet of the Internet giant for instant messaging, an application especially focused on workgroups that, in fact, can only be enjoyed by users of G Suite, the cloud of services for companies. But this interests you if you use Google even if it is not in a professional way, because Google Chat does not come from nothing, but it is about the renewal of a classic: Google Hangouts.
In summary, Google is trying to put a little order in its messaging and communications services, and although at the moment they do not plan to do without any of the existing ones, there are changes underway that will directly affect some. This is the case of what we knew until now as Hangouts, whose conventional chat and video conferencing capabilities diverge in Google Chat and Google Meet, respectively. The detail is that this change has started to be implemented first in G Suite.
Thus, while Google Meet has already been promoted among home users, it has been done only because of the situation we are living with the coronavirus pandemic. In a few months it will return to being a payment service aimed at companies … Or that’s what the company announced. On the other hand, Google Duo remains in force and continues to improve its benefits, and this is a product for everyone.
It is therefore missing Hangouts to disappear in favor of Google Chat for the current Google user, although it is not clear when this will happen because Google Chat is not exactly like Hangouts. Google Chat is a product designed to compete with Slack, Microsoft Teams and the like, so it remains to be seen how they put it together. The only certainty is that Hangouts has an expiration date and its only replacement is this one.
New Google Chat application
The novelty regarding Google Chat is that it already has its own application, which is not independent as indicated on the help page, and is at least for the moment directly dependent on the company’s web browser, Google Chrome. I mean, we are before a progressive web application (PWA for its acronym in English), the future of web applications in which Chrome leads the way.
This new Google Chat application comes to replace the Electron client (another technology with which to create web applications, also based on Chromium) and has support for any system that runs Google Chrome, including Windows, Mac, Linux and, for course Chrome OS. Your only requirement is to be using Google Chrome 73 or higher.
Also, that the Google Chat application is a PWA means -or should- that it is compatible with any other web browser that supports this standard, from those based on Chromium such as Microsoft Edge, Brave or Vivaldi, to others such as Firefox. However, Opera or Firefox, for now, do not offer such a possibility in their desktop versions of PC. But everything will work.
As will be the availability of Google Chat to the general public, even though the company has prioritized the launch for its professional clients. In the long run it makes no sense to keep more than what they have and getting to know those from Mountain View, it’s only a matter of time before they retire to the domestic Hangouts and put Google Chat in their place, or perhaps a shortened version of it.