Google's Slack competitor is now available to any company

Key Points
  • Google first announced Hangouts Chat last year but only made it available to early adopters.
  • The service will directly compete with Microsoft Teams, which is part of Office 365, as well as Slack.
Diane Greene, CEO of Google Cloud
Source: Google

Google on Wednesday said it will be making its team communication app for work available to customers of its G Suite portfolio of cloud productivity apps this week.

The Hangouts Chat app gives Google a direct competitor to privately held Slack and the many Slack alternatives that have emerged in recent years, including Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Office 365 portfolio. Google now gets more than $1 billion in revenue from G Suite and the Google Cloud Platform.

Within G Suite, Google also offers email, cloud file sharing, video conferencing and other services, but Google did not have this type of text-based collaboration service until about a year ago, when the company made Hangouts Chat available to a small number of customers through an early adopter program.

Many people can type out updates to each other at once in Hangouts Chat, and they can call on integrations with other services, like Salesforce and Trello, when necessary. Google's own services like Calendar and Drive can be summoned to perform tasks from Hangouts Chat as well.

A chatbot for scheduling meetings joins in the conversation in Google Hangouts Chat.
Source: Google

Scott Johnston, a director of product management at Google who previously started Google Drive, told CNBC that Hangouts Chat was designed for big companies. It will support up to 8,000 users and will work in 28 languages, Johnston mentioned in a blog post. Android and iOS apps will be available, along with a web app.

Hangouts Chat is available for free for companies already paying for G Suite, but unlike Slack, it doesn't have a free tier for people who don't work at companies that use G Suite.