Hangouts Chat is no longer part of Google’s Early Adopter Program and is now generally available as a core G Suite service. Hangouts Chat is the latest iteration of Google Hangouts, made popular on the Google+ social network platform.
Google’s Hangouts feature became part of the greater Google ecosystem with its rollout as part of Google+ as a video conferencing utility which itself would replace Google’s Voice, Messenger, and Google Talk products.
When Google+ became less of the rule in the Google ecosystem, its various supporting services were split up and given their own path forward. For Google Hangouts, this meant splitting it into Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat.
Hangouts Meet focuses on the video conferencing aspect of Google Hangouts, allowing groups of people to video conference with one-another.
Hangouts Chat, which just became a general part of Google’s G Suite service for businesses, centers around instant messaging and collaborative communications between members of a team. It shares more in common with competitors like Slack and HipChat than with its parent product, Google Hangouts.