With the launch of Google Allo—Google's newest (and something like ninth) instant messaging client—Google's older IM service, Google Hangouts, was put on notice. The company didn't have much concrete information on what it would do with Hangouts, only offering a vague indication that it would get a reboot focused on "business." Today, the company showed off the future of Hangouts: it's going to be a Slack competitor.
"Hangouts Chat" is Google's latest entry in the communication space, after the Android SMS app, Google Talk, Voice, Buzz, G+ Messenger, Hangouts, Spaces, and Allo. This one is a straight-up Slack clone, with rooms people can join and auto-completed @[username] mentions. Discussions are threaded, a feature Slack has been experimenting with recently, but, in Hangouts Chat, threading seems to be much more front-and-center. While Slack is "optionally threaded," Hangouts Chat is more like "threaded by default"—the main input bar is actually labeled "Create a new discussion."
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