By Sivan Kaspi
Updated on September 05, 2023,
11 min read
Updated on Mar 26, 2023
Google Chat is a communication service offered by Google, previously known as Hangouts Chat. Initially designed for business environments and teams, it’s now available for general consumers. The service provides direct messaging, group conversations, and spaces, which allow users to create and share tasks and files. Users can access the service through its website and app or through the Gmail website and app.
The service was launched on March 9, 2017, as part of the two-app replacement for Google Hangouts, with the other app being Google Meet. On April 9, 2020, it was renamed to Google Chat. Initially, the service was only available to Google Workspace customers, but in February 2021, Google started offering Google Chat to regular consumer accounts in “early access” until it was fully available in April 2021. Google replaced the original Hangouts with Chat and deprecated it on November 1, 2022.
Over the years, Google’s team communication has changed on an almost quarterly basis. It’s difficult for teams to consistently change their apps and services every time Google sunsets a product and replaces it with a new one. Just as with Google Inbox, Google often has big ideas with little stability in the long term.
Who is Google chat for?
Google Chat is more of a competitor to a team chat app than a replacement for Google Hangouts. But what does this actually mean? Essentially, Google Chat is a messaging app designed for teams. It’s available on desktop, iPhone, iPad, and Android devices.
Organizations and groups can create their own Google Chat servers for their employees or members. Instead of having all conversations take place in a single stream like a regular group chat, Google Chat allows you to organize your conversations into “Rooms.”
Rooms are helpful for creating more focused chat spaces. For instance, you could create a Room specifically for a discussion about a particular project or event. All conversations related to that topic can take place in the Room, and only the necessary people can be included.
Spike delivers everything you could ever need from a digital workspace in a single app across every platform, from email, team chat, collaborative Notes to Video Meetings. Its streamlined interface makes it the best Google Hangouts alternative.
Spike’s Video Meetings and video chat services are one of the easiest to use services available in any app. In addition, Spike Video Meetings are integrated into Spike’s app, so you don’t need to use Zoom or Google Hangouts.
Spike lets you schedule Video Meeting invites in your calendar events or over email. Invites can be sent without starting a new thread or email, so you can go from text to voice message to a video call in the same email thread, all without launching another app.
Even if the person you’re meeting with doesn’t use Spike, they can join using any web browser on any device without needing to register for an account, install a plugin, or adjust any complicated settings. Every meeting can be joined with one click.
Spike Video Meetings also support screen sharing, making it perfect for sharing a presentation about your last mock-up or website draft. When there are multiple people on the call, emoji reactions let everyone give a quick thumbs up when an agreement is needed.
There are other great team communication apps, but their limitations are exposed when you need to chat with clients. Likewise, there are different video conferencing services available, but they’ll be another account to manage (and purchase) on top of your email and team-chat app.
For teams that are working remotely, there is often a loss of chats and conversations that help build rapport and deepen work relationships. There can be no ‘water cooler’ talk when there is no water cooler. Spike promotes a collaborative environment where it’s as easy to email as it is to send a text message. Just because your team is distributed or remote, doesn’t mean you can’t still build relationships. Spike can help!
With Spike, you have everything you need to create the best Google Hangouts and Google Meet alternative without needing to deploy yet another service. All Spike needs is for you to sign in with your email account.
Spike is the first native desktop and mobile app that combines all forms of team communication in your Inbox, which works seamlessly both internal communication and externally to your organization.
- Free for everyday use
- Pro -For professionals & small teams
- Business – For power users & large teams
Spike vs Hangouts Reviews:
- “Spike user interface is much more intuitive and I love how everything is organized by conversation rather than by individual messages like Hangouts. Plus, it has some great additional features like being able to schedule some emails and send larger files directly through the app.” – Sarah B.
- “With Spike it’s easy to switch between email and instant messages in the same app. The snooze feature is also really helpful for managing my inbox.” – John T.
- “Google Hangouts is more familiar to me and I like how easy it is to search for old messages. Plus, since I already use other Google products like Gmail and Google Drive, it’s convenient to have everything in one place.” – Emily L.
- “With Spike, the ability to collaborate on emails and files with my team in real time has been a game changer for us. The app is also much faster and more responsive than Hangouts ever was for me.” – Tom H.
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Zoom has become a popular tool for video collaboration because it offers one-on-one and group calls with the ability to record or broadcast meetings with the paid packages. In addition, there is a free option available, but this limits group calls to only 40 minutes.
Zoom is one of the best video conferencing solutions available, but it’s limited to basic chat and video conferencing. Other services have caught up to Zoom on video conferencing, but also include deeper team chat, email, collaborative notes, document sharing, and tasks management to create a full digital workspace inside of a single app.
- Free for personal use
- For teams: $14.99 per month/license
Zoom vs Hangouts Reviews:
- “Zoom has been a lifesaver during the pandemic. It’s easy to use and reliable, and the virtual background feature is a lot of fun.” – Jane, small business owner
- “I love Zoom’s breakout rooms for small group discussions. It’s a great way to facilitate group work during remote meetings.” – Mike, teacher
- “I appreciate the security features that Zoom offers, such as waiting rooms and password protection. It gives me peace of mind knowing that my meetings are secure.” – Sarah, healthcare professional
- “I like how Google Hangouts integrates with other Google products like Gmail and Google Calendar. It makes scheduling and joining meetings easy.” – Mark, freelance writer
- “Google Hangouts is a good option for quick catch-ups with coworkers or friends. It’s simple and easy to use.” – Rachel, student
- “I prefer Google Hangouts over Zoom for smaller meetings because it’s less overwhelming. I don’t need all the fancy features that Zoom offers.” – John, non-profit employee
Slack is a popular team chat app that works cross-platform on Mac, PC, Android, and iOS. It’s been a popular tool for distributed teams for many years. It was purchased by Salesforce in 2020 as a result of the popularity of remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Slack offers video conferencing tools built inside its app, but many teams have trouble finding them. Because most people are used to using Slack for team chat, they still need a solution for video collaboration for people outside their team. Slack’s free plan is also limited to 1:1 calls between teams, so it won’t be useful for large meetings.
- Free but limited for personal use
- For teams: $12.50 user/month
Slack vs Hangouts Reviews:
- “With Slack the user interface is much more intuitive and the ability to organize channels by topic or project is essential for keeping conversations organized.” – Sarah W.
- “Google Hangouts integrates with my Google account and it’s free. Slack can get expensive if you need the advanced features.” – James M.
- “Slack has the ability to create custom emojis and integrate with other apps like Trello and Asana has been really helpful for my team.” – Emily T.
- “I prefer Slack because it’s easier to search for old messages and files. Plus, the mobile app is more user-friendly than Hangouts.” – Tom K.
- “It is easier to share files with and collaborate on documents in Hangouts, but Slack’s customization options and integrations are hard to beat.” – Karen L.
Discord offers some basic collaboration tools for teams to talk, chat, text, and collaborate over video. It has historically been used in the gaming community for chat during gameplay, but it’s recently been used by teams for video and voice chat. It supports channels and direct messages for collaboration. The Video Chat functionality works well, but it’s buried inside a much more complicated service.
Discord is free to use with unlimited access to all services. Anyone can create a new server, invite friends and colleagues for free, etc. It can be used across all desktop and mobile devices. Its pricing model makes it difficult to use for teams, though. It requires each user to upgrade their own accounts.
Discord is not suitable for most SMBs, but it can function as long as you know the limitations going into it.
Discord vs Hangouts Reviews:
- “The voice chat quality in Discord is great, and the ability to create and customize servers and channels is a huge plus.” – Jack T.
- “Discord is great for gaming, but I prefer Hangouts for work-related conversations. Hangouts is simpler and more straightforward for professional communication.” – Amy L.
- “Discord is hands down the best option for gaming voice chat. The audio quality is superb and the ability to create and join different servers for different games or groups of friends is really convenient.” – Sam G.
- “I was impressed with how easy it was to set up and use with Discord. The ability to share screens and files in real-time is great for collaboration.” – Julia S.
- “I prefer Google Hangouts over Discord for team communication because it’s more reliable and has fewer technical issues. Plus, since it’s integrated with my Google account, it’s easy to access and use.” – John P.
Microsoft Teams, like Slack, offers video conferencing as part of a much larger solution for team chat. However, unlike Spike, which functions as a normal email client, Microsoft Teams will be a much more complicated solution to roll out for teams.
Microsoft Teams offers some nice chat and collaboration features. Still, it’s an additional service on top of email, so unless you plan on moving all of your team’s entire workflows to it, it’ll be much more challenging to build a video collaboration strategy around it. Teams offers a free plan to start if your team wants to try it out, though.
- Free for personal use
- For teams: $12.50 user/month
MS Teams vs Hangouts Reviews:
- “Teams is the better option for business use. The integration with Office 365 and the ability to collaborate on documents in real-time is really helpful.” – Tom S.
- “Google Hangouts is simpler and more straightforward. Teams can be overwhelming with all of its features and integrations, while Hangouts is more user-friendly.” – Sarah L.
- “Microsoft Teams is great for remote teams because of its video conferencing and screen sharing features. It’s also helpful for project management and keeping conversations organized in different channels.” – David H.
- “Teams is call quality is better and the ability to blur the background is a nice touch.” – Rachel M.
- “Google Hangouts is a good option for casual video chats, but for business use, I prefer Microsoft Teams. The integration with other Microsoft tools and the ability to schedule and join meetings with one click makes it a time-saver.” – Mark B.
Telegram is a recent newcomer in the world of Google Hangouts alternatives. Telegram isn’t as popular in the US as it is outside the US, but its US audience is growing, though. When you’re in a voice of text group chat, look for the video icon to turn the call into a video meeting. The first 30 people to join can chat over video, and up to 1,000 people can watch the video if they are in the group. Telegram has said they will keep expanding this limit as well.
One thing that Telegram does really well is with its noise suppression. The feature is designed to keep everyone’s audio clear and crisp, however, this can be turned off in the settings. Telegram’s video calls work on Android and iOS so it’s easy for cross-device compatibility.
Telegram vs Hangouts Reviews:
- “It has the ability to send large files is a game-changer.” – Sarah, 36
- “The app offers end-to-end encryption, self-destructing messages, and the ability to block screenshots. Keeping sensitive information private.” – Mike, 43
- “It’s great for video calls and messaging. It integrates seamlessly with my Google account, and I can easily share files and collaborate with my team.” – Jane, 27
- “It’s a solid messaging app, but it’s not as feature-rich as some of the other options out there. It’s great for basic messaging and video calls, but don’t expect a lot of bells and whistles.” – Dave, 32
- “It’s simple and easy to use. I don’t need a lot of fancy features, just a way to message my friends and family.” – Lisa, 41
Wrap up on Google Chat alternatives
Google Chat is a popular messaging and video conferencing service offered by Google, but it has its limitations. It’s tightly integrated with Google Workspace, which can be complicated to use, and it only works on a web browser, making it challenging to collaborate with international teams. Fortunately, Spike offers an excellent alternative to Google Chat.
Spike is a powerful app that combines email, team chat, document sharing, tasks, and video meetings all in one place. With Spike, you can work seamlessly with your team and manage all your communications and tasks in one digital workspace. Even if your contacts don’t use Spike for email, they can still join your Spike Video Meeting with ease using a web browser, without the need to install plugins or manage accounts.
Download Spike today and discover the best alternative to Google Chat