Google announces availability of Hangouts Chat, new AI features in G Suite

New intelligent features in Docs and Calendar will make it easier for professionals to collaborate in G Suite.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • New features in Google Docs and Google Calendar will help professionals better work together, book meetings, and increase productivity.
  • Google's Hangouts Chat is now generally available, offering support for 28 languages and a secure ecosystem.

Hangouts Chat is now generally available as a G Suite service, Google announced in a Wednesday blog post. To accompany the release, Google also announced some intelligent feature updates to Docs and Calendar to improve their usefulness for professionals.

Much like Slack, Hangouts Chat is an enterprise communication tool aimed at lessening a team's reliance on email to get work done. The service features group conversations, direct messages, and threaded conversations that all happen within virtual "rooms" for teams or projects.

The service was initially released through an Early Adopter Program, but is now available to all G Suite customers. It supports 28 languages, and can handle an organization of up to 8,000 people.

SEE: Comparison chart: Office suites (Tech Pro Research)

Professionals working in Hangouts Chat can integrate the feature with other G Suite apps like Drive and Docs to share what they're working on, the release said. It also features artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted search and enterprise-grade security, and comes equipped with 25 bots to accelerate workflows, the release said.

Hangouts Chat will be slowly rolling out to all users over the next seven days, the release said.

In addition to the Hangouts Chat release, Google also announced AI-focused updates to Docs and Calendar for business users. In Docs, a new feature called Quick Access will use AI and machine intelligence to bring the most relevant files to a user quickly, so they can always keep the projects up-to-date, according to a separate press release. This means that users will spend less time looking for the right file, improving their efficiency.

In Calendar, AI will help automatically suggest conferences rooms when a user creates an event. This saves time for the user, as they'll spend less time looking for which rooms are available. "And because they'll be optimized for each attendee based on their building and floor location, previous booking history, audio/video equipment needs and room capacity requirements, you can feel confident that you're booking the right space for your team to be productive," the release said.

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Image: iStockphoto/SpVVK

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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