The Best Uses for Google Meet, Hangouts, and Chat
Do you chat, hang out, or meet? Every team has its own style of communicating, which is why Google created over 271 products and services to improve the way we work together. There’s an app for everything, but knowing which is right for you and your team can be challenging. To help you out, here’s a breakdown of Google’s top communication apps, their unique features, and examples of when to use each one.
An intro to Google Meet, Hangouts, and Chat
Our world went through a lot of change in a short period — and Google was no exception. As of October 2020, G Suite is now Google Workspace . But the tools you once knew and loved in G Suite are still around, just with some new names and improved features. Here’s what you need to know about Google’s three main messaging and video conferencing apps.
Think of Google Meet as the Google equivalent of Zoom. This is the app to use for all your video conferencing, whether it be work-related or personal. Once the pandemic hit in early 2020, Google made this app free for all to use. However, just like Zoom, Google Meet has varying plans to accommodate larger audiences and longer meetings. Up to 250 internal or external participants (or 100,000 live stream viewers ) can join a Meet call. Certain plans also allow hosts to record meetings, introduce polls and Q&A, hold breakout sessions, and other helpful features.
Google Hangouts (or “classic Hangouts”)
You may have heard of Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. But, as of May 2020 Google rebranded these to Google Meet and Google Chat. Even though classic Hangouts still exists, it appears that Google may encourage the switch to these other apps. In the meantime, Hangouts is still found in the Gmail app as an option for more casual messaging. You can conveniently instant message people in your organization or invite people to join a conversation.
Primarily a messaging app, Google Chat essentially has the same functionality as Hangouts but includes new features specifically geared toward team or project collaboration — the most helpful being the option to create rooms . Users can stay better organized with this space to easily brainstorm with others, share files (conveniently saved in a list format), and create and assign tasks to teammates.
Related: Easy Rules for Running a Better Daily Stand-up Meeting
What to love about Google Meet
Many organizations have incorporated video conferencing apps into their remote work model. Zoom definitely took the stage as one of the top platforms for remote meetings. But a comparison of Google Meet and Zoom reveals some notable features of Google Meet that companies should take into consideration. Some of the helpful features found in Google Meet include:
- No app downloads required. Guests with a link can join a Google Meet video conference straight from a web browser.
- Better video and audio clarity. Users can enjoy a more coherent video feed as Google Meet adjusts to your network speed. Adding to the experience, new AI enhancements filter out sound that isn’t speech so that lawnmower or siren in the background won’t wreck your meeting.
- Stay in the know with live captions. Google put their speech recognition technology to use by offering live captions throughout a meeting. This is a huge benefit to those with a hearing impairment, non-native English speakers, or simply those who want to follow along better and review what was said by others during a meeting. Live captions also create more accessible online learning.
- Integrated with Google Workplace. Users can easily pull up a slideshow presentation, document, or image during a Google Meet call. The Google Calendar app also provides a link to all scheduled calls for easy access.
- Host a live stream event. Certain Google Meet plans let you hold a live stream event within your organization. These events are easy to set up in Google Calendar and allow up to 100,000 view-only guests to attend.
- Consistently improving for users. Get the most out of Google Meet by staying up-to-date with the latest Google Meet additions and changes .
Features and benefits of Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts may not be the latest and greatest app anymore, but there are still several ways to use its core features. Improve your professional and personal communication with the following functions:
- Stay in touch with all your contacts. This messaging platform allows you to chat with up to 250 people at a time. Embellish your messages with photos, emojis, stickers, and GIFs to your heart’s content.
- Use as an SMS substitute. Google Hangouts has a similar format and functionality to standard text messaging. So, if you lose your phone or find yourself without cell service, this app is a quick and easy way to send messages.
- Quickly switch from a chat to a video call. You can start a chat and instantly turn it into a video call. Simply click the video icon, and a link will appear that will take you straight to a Google Meet call ready for you and your guests.
- Sync conversations across devices. Hangouts saves all your messages so you can start a conversation on one device and continue it later on another.
Related: Use One-on-One Meetings to Create a Unified Remote Team
Google Chat’s top features
Google Chat is full of new features guaranteed to simplify the way you work remotely. Check out these added functions that you won’t want to live without:
- Direct message with all the frills. Google Chat lets you send private messages to a person or group. Make the most of your messages with the ability to include high-quality photos, videos, and files.
- Use rooms to collaborate and share. Creating a room in Google Chat gives your team a space to share and create files, assign tasks, and coordinate the details of a project.
- Keep everything in the same window. Not only can you create documents, but you can also edit the document as a team from the chat room, all without leaving the window.
- Assign and keep track of tasks. Help your team stay on top of duties by assigning tasks to the members of a room. These tasks populate within a room so you can track progress, but also sync with the Google Tasks app so you can keep up with all your tasks.
- Stay organized with threaded messages. The option to save threaded conversations in a room gives users a record of the things shared, and lets you easily reference specific items in a conversation.
- Use a bot for extra assistance. A bot is a special account that can help you do things like schedule a meeting, poll a group, and search your calendar. Utilize a bot by adding it to a room or sending a direct message to one with a request. Google offers multiple bots , such as the Meet, Google Drive, Asana, and Gify bots.
- Find exactly what you need. Search for a specific phrase or project name by using the search feature in Chat. The results will then show message threads that match your search.
Related: How to Make Your Conference Calls Sound Better
How professionals use Google Meet, Hangouts, and Chat
When it comes to staying in touch with your team, there are several perks that come from Google Meet, Hangouts, and Chat. Schools and businesses that use these apps as their main realm for collaboration enjoy the following benefits.
Let your work thrive in one workspace
Connected to Google Workspace, all three platforms make it really easy to share links and attachments from other Google applications. Also, regardless of the Google app that you use for communication, you’ll find that they’re all integrated to work with each other. For example, whether you’re in Google Chat or Hangouts, if you want to start a video call, you will automatically be taken to Google Meet.
Get more done remotely
Google Workspace is made for remote working , and its video and chat apps certainly follow suit. The ability to share and edit files in real-time with your team in Google Chat, send a quick question to a colleague in Google Hangouts, or host a conference with thousands of attendees with a Google Meet live stream is a big deal. Remote workers are well-equipped with these efficient apps.
Simplify online learning
Those in the education field can benefit from Google Chat’s rooms. Remote learners can effectively collaborate on group projects with the ability to edit documents, assign tasks, and keep track of progress all in one place. Teachers can keep tabs on their students’ work by adding themselves to each group’s room.
Stay connected on the go
If you’re traveling abroad and don’t have cell service, use Google Hangouts with an internet connection to message or video chat with your friends. Each Google app is available on iOS, Android, and any web browser, allowing you easy access to your team or friends wherever life takes you.
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