Believe it or not, Google might still be tinkering with its chat strategy. The Information sources say Google is working on a unified communications app for workers that would roll messaging and other features together, including Hangouts Chat, Hangouts Meet, Gmail and Google Drive. Effectively, it’d serve as a more direct rival to office messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams. You’d still have to venture elsewhere for features like your calendar, but you wouldn’t have to switch apps just to hold a videoconference or reply to a colleague’s email.
The app would be part of the G Suite productivity tools run by the Google Cloud team. That would be part of the appeal — companies could have just one or two apps to manage instead of several.
Google has declined to comment on the apparent leak.
The incentives aren’t hard to see. Many companies will use Google for services like Calendar, Gmail and Docs, but turn to Slack or other apps when it’s time for workplace discussions. This could give G Suite customers a reason to go all-in with Google. Whether or not customers are willing to bite is another matter. Google has routinely struggled to offer consistent, compelling messaging apps, and there’s no guarantee companies won’t just shrug their shoulders and carry on using the hodge podge of services they rely on today.