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Google Enters Team Collaboration Fray

As noted in last week's No Jitter Roll, our regular Friday roundup of news tidbits, industry scuttlebutt had Google readying a new enterprise-focused team video meeting app. 'Tis true, and then some, confirmed Scott Johnston, director of product management for Google Hangouts, by way of a blog posted today in which he introduced two new enterprise-focused services: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.

A year ago, Google shifted its focus for Hangouts to the enterprise and on enabling teams to work from anywhere, as Johnston reminded readers. As part of that process, Google learned from customers that connecting over video and chat should not only be more collaborative, but effortless, he said. "... so we're evolving Hangouts to focus on two experiences that help bring teams together and keep work moving forward."

Johnston shared the vision at Google Cloud Next, taking place this week in San Francisco. And, no doubt, he'll reiterate where the company is going in enterprise communications and collaboration when he takes to the Enterprise Connect 2017 keynote stage at 11:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, March 29.

To enable that effortless experience users so desire, Hangouts Meet features a "light, fast interface and smart participant management," Johnston wrote. Meetings start with a link, whether clicked on from within Google Calendar, an email invite, or shared in another way, and regardless of whether you're in a conference room, sitting at your desktop or laptop, or using a Hangouts Meet mobile app (available for Android and iOS).

Hangouts Meet accommodates native, full-screen presentations and features G Suite integration. Users with G Suite Enterprise Edition licenses get dedicated dial-in phone numbers for their meetings, "so team members on the road can feel connected and productive in meetings despite wi-fi or data issues," Johnston said.

Hangouts Chat is where persistent team collaboration comes into play. Google uses a virtual room metaphor for this app, enabling teams to chat and share content from G Suite within threaded conversations. Of course Chat also allows filterable search, for making the task of finding project information less onerous.

An @meet bot sits on top of the Hangouts platform and uses natural language processing and machine learning to schedule team meetings automatically... with Hangouts Meet and Google Calendar, naturally. In addition, Hangouts Chat works with other bots and supports simple scripting via the Google App Script, and Google is working on integrations with companies such as Asana, Box, Prosperworks, and Zendesk, he said.

Hangouts Meet, available today, will gradually roll out to all G Suite customers over the next few weeks, Johnston said. To try out Hangouts Chat, G Suite customers can apply to participate in an early adopter program.

Catch Johnston at Enterprise Connect 2017! Register now using the code NOJITTER to receive $300 off an Entire Event or Tue-Thu Conference pass, or a free Expo Plus pass.

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