It is perhaps a running joke by now that Google just can’t settle on a single messaging app or service for long. It has gone through quite a number of them, enough to confuse even the most ardent of Google’s followers. That has happened yet again now that Hangouts Meet, G Suite’s video conferencing product, has officially been rebranded to Google Meet, perhaps with the ironic goal of making things less confusing.
Hangouts has had a long and somewhat troubled history and it’s actually impressive it has lasted this long. It started out as Google+’s messaging feature before branching out to its own service. It was then expanded to cover aspects of Google Talk before once again being spun off and split into Hangouts Meet for video conferencing and Hangouts Chat for instant messaging, both parts of the G Suite group of productivity apps.
In a recent G Suite blog post, Google confirmed what was already rumored these past days. The Meet part of the Hangouts brand is being renamed to a more identifiable Google Meet. The logo, however, remains the same and Hangouts Chat remains untouched. At least for now.
The rebranding comes at a time when more and more people, especially G Suite customers, are turning to tools such as video conferencing services to work safely from their homes. The move is perhaps designed to cement the image that this is Google’s own, sanctioned, and recommended group video chat tool, not just some random third-party service that sounds more laid back than it really is.
The Hangouts name was never really a good fit for G Suite in the first place and Hangouts Chat may be the next to get a name change. The timing of the rebranding might also be strategic to imprint Google’s name on the service and clearly set itself apart from something like Zoom.