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- Google Cloud is launching a new messaging and collaboration app for the workplace that brings together G Suite apps like Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Hangouts, as first reported by the Information’s Kevin McLaughlin.
- This app is expected to launch in April, the month when the annual Google Cloud Next customer conference is slated to take place, a source familiar with the matter said.
- Not only will this app bring together Google’s productivity apps, it will also integrate with outside apps like Slack, Zoom, Cisco’s WebEx, and Microsoft Office.
- It marks renewed competition from Google Cloud in a market currently dominated by Microsoft Teams and Slack.
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This April, Google Cloud is planning to launch a workplace chat and collaboration app that brings together Gmail, Google Docs, Google Hangouts, and other apps from the G Suite product line.
This new app, which was first reported by The Information’s Kevin McLaughlin on Tuesday, could launch as soon as April, according to a person familiar — the same month that the Google Cloud Next annual customer conference is slated to take place. The app is currently in testing with Google employees.
Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian presented this app to salespeople and outside partners at a keynote at Google Cloud’s internal sales kickoff Google Accelerate, Business Insider has learned. Kurian said that this app will be the place where all the pieces of G Suite meet, our source said. The Information reported that the new app will integrate its Google Hangouts Chat app as well as its Hangouts Meet videoconferencing tool.
This initiative was headed by Javier Soltero, the former head of Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant and the former head of strategy for Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity tools, Business Insider has learned. Google hired Soltero in October to head up G Suite, amid Kurian’s broader push to bring Google Cloud deeper into the enterprise market.
The app, which will be available on mobile and desktop, makes it easy to switch between all the various G Suite apps. Within the app, two sources said, users will be able to start writing an email from within a chatroom conversation, or vice versa. While reading an email via this app, you would be able to start or dial into a Google Hangouts video meeting, or share documents from Google Drive, the sources said.
This new app can also help Google compete with Microsoft Office 365 — Microsoft’s wildly popular suite of office productivity tools.
Microsoft Teams, the company’s own chat app, offers deep integrations with apps like Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Sharepoint, and has replaced Skype for Business as the company’s premiere video conferencing app for the workplace. Teams also offers integrations with non-Microsoft services like Atlassian’s Trello, ServiceNow, and Twitter.
However, it seems that Google is taking integrations to a new level: The new chat app will offer planned integrations with the likes of Zoom, Cisco’s WebEx, Microsoft Office, and even Slack — Microsoft’s leading rival in the workplace chat app market — in a bid to make it easier for customers to use the new tool with the services they already pay for. Currently, Google is working on adding integrations ahead of the launch, a source familiar with the matter said.
Ultimately, this app will face some skepticism, as Google has come under frequent criticism for its messaging app strategy. The company has repeatedly introduced, and then killed, new messaging apps. Following the Information’s initial report on the existence of this new app, pundits took to Twitter to predict this app’s ultimate demise.
—Ron Amadeo (@RonAmadeo) January 29, 2020
—Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) January 28, 2020
In 2017, Google introduced Google Hangouts, a Slack competitor similarly intended for the workplace, which failed to show significant market traction. It’s unclear what the existence of this new app might mean for the future of Hangouts Chat as a standalone product.
Business Insider reached out to Google Cloud for comment.
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