Google has decided to take Hangouts to the next level. They have split the video chat service into two separate classes: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. Why? They are pushing toward being more business-oriented as opposed to consumer-oriented.

After all, in today’s world an actual face-to-face meeting isn’t really necessary. Virtual chat meetings save a lot of time and money while still providing the connectivity of being there live.  In a quote from Google’s blog concerning the update, ” More than half of the workforce will contribute remotely by 2020, so businesses require purpose-built tools to help employees succeed.”

The changes are part of the G Suite platform for business, which is a set of apps including Gmail, Docs, Drive and Calendar to keep co-workers connected. It is part of Google Cloud, so it can be accessed anywhere and everywhere, making project collaboration easy.

This blurb from Fortune magazine sums up the reasoning for why Google Hangouts are changing:

Google Debuts Hangouts Meet And Hangouts Chat Services | Fortune.com

Google Hangouts

Image from Iconfinder

The search giant is splitting its video and chatting service into two separate products to better appeal to business customers. As of Thursday, Hangouts Meet will be focused on corporate video conferencing while Hangouts Chat will target workplace chat and business productivity.

Read more here:  Google Debuts Hangouts Meet And Hangouts Chat Services | Fortune.com

What is the difference between the two types of Hangouts? Hangouts Chat is dedicated to team projects, allowing co-workers to share content from the various Google cloud applications. It is very similar to Slack, which is a messaging service for business on steroids. Hangouts Meet will be more like the original Hangouts: Video conferencing that is shared through a link or by dialing a number, but with no plugin required.

This video from USA Today gives a run down of the features of both types of Hangouts:

Will Google video conferencing have a price tag?  As far as the cost for G Suite, there are options but it sounds like the free Hangouts are eventually going away. The dynamic duo of Chat and Meet will only be available to G Suite business customers.

The pricing plans are explained below for small vs big business:

Compare G Suite billing plans – G Suite Administrator Help

The Flexible Plan might therefore be best if you have a variable workforce. For example, businesses that provide vacation services might double in size during the summer months. A Flexible Plan allows these companies to provide temporary employees with G Suite and only pay for the service while it’s used. User accounts can then be deleted when employees leave at the end of the summer.

The Annual Plan might be best if you have a larger workforce and your team is generally growing in size. You pay a lower monthly rate for each user license. And you can add licenses as your workforce grows.

Original post here:  Compare G Suite billing plans – G Suite Administrator Help

If you’re still undecided, here is a diagram that shows the G Suite pricing options:

Pricing for G Suite

Image from G Suite

With all of the other video conferencing platforms, it doesn’t surprise me that Google is going deeper into enterprise technology. All the popular business-focused video options come with a price tag. In fact, Amazon has even jumped into the ring with Chime video conferencing, so all of the big hitters are part of this trend.