If you’ve come within ten feet of a startup in the past year, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Slack. The team tool is one of the most popular tools within the startup realm. It’s also used in office settings (why walk across the room when you can just send someone a Slack message?).
Slack lets users communicate through direct message, through entire channels, or with clients. You can drop documents, make comments on projects, create an audio or video chat, or just keep track of team members through Slack.
In other words, Slack is a tool that’s not only useful, it’s profitable. It makes sense, then, that a company like Google (that hasn’t had much success with such team tools) would want to copy Slack’s format. It makes even more sense when you consider how much of a failure Google Hangouts was (and is up until now).
Hangouts Gets Slack Envy
Google’s Hangouts is slowly morphing into Slack. The company didn’t purchase Slack or anything of that grandeur, but it is starting to look a lot like the popular team tool. If you’ve seen the latest demo version of Hangouts, you’ll notice similarities right away. Were Google’s Hangouts to turn into a hyped up version of Slack, Slack would have some stiff competition too.
Teams are starting to become more and more remote. It’s not unusual for entire teams to be spread across one country or even a few countries, so companies will spend on a team tool like Slack that makes communication simpler. But here’s the beauty of something like Hangouts. Google’s Hangouts is free.
Morphing Towards Teamwork
The new Hangouts will offer the usual one-on-one chats, but this version (launching soon) will also com with channels or threads that companies can use for team chat. This is really the biggest development that Google has made to Hangouts in quite some time. When Hangouts launched originally, it had a short burst of sign-ups, but largely fizzled out.
There are some people that still use Hangouts though the social app will become more popular if Google manages to do something Slack-like. One thing that Google is really pushing about the new Hangouts rollout are the search filters that will be available. Again, this is very reminiscent of Slack with the ability to search via file name or username or by room type or date.
The Problem With Hangouts
While it’s clear that the new Hangouts could be stiff competition for Slack, the one reason why some companies may not make the switch to Hangouts is security. Companies that offer services for free, like Gmail or Hangouts, do so at a cost. Google’s services might be free, but they aren’t the most secure or private. Many companies that do use tools such as Slack might do so because they are more secure than what Google could offer for free.
However, some companies that don’t see the need for additional security might not have a problem using Hangouts if the newest version is a lot like Slack. Whether or not Google will be able to use the Hangouts name successfully with a new service launch remains to be seen. Presently, Hangouts has something of a stigma attached to the name.