As of this week, Brown is now able to use the new Google Hangouts Chat service. Hangouts Chat is a new messaging tool for individuals and groups, that integrates very closely with the rest of Brown’s Google environment. You can create local chat rooms, perform 1:1 chats, and integrate with a growing number of automated services.
If you’re using the Google Hangouts on the same web screen as your Gmail, you don’t need to take any action but the full Hangouts Chat interface gives the ability to create local chat rooms, perform 1:1 chats, and integrate with a growing number of automated “chat bots” that can provide additional services to you. The interface is much like Slack, or the Microsoft Teams service.
If you want to create a group chat room, it’s easy to add people manually, and you can also leverage Brown’s existing “Google Groups” so that members can be added automatically. As of right now, you can only add people with Brown email addresses to your group chat rooms.
There are also chat clients for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android that allow you to use Hangouts Chat from all your devices, and access the service as you would from the web.
To learn how to start using the new features, check out: How to use Google Hangout Chats
To access the full Hangouts Chat interface, please visit: chat.google.com
Note: Users may see a '500 Internal Error' Google error page when first trying to use Hangouts Chat. Just log out of your Google account in the browser, then log back in to activate the service.
There are some groups at Brown that are currently using the Slack chat service for group chat functionality. Google Hangouts Chat may be a good alternative for you, due to its integration with the Google ecosystem, and its price (free). Please visit, Decide Which Group Chat is Right For You, for a comparison of some of the core functions between Google Hangouts Chat, Slack, and Microsoft’s Teams service.