(Benzinga) – Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) subsidiary Google said Thursday that it would make its Chat service available for free to all users beginning the first half of 2021.
What Happened: Chat will replace Google’s Hangout service, and users of the latter would be migrated automatically along with their existing conversations, Google’s group product manager Matthew Leske said in a statement.
Chat is a part of the paid business-focussed Google Workspace. That service was unveiled earlier this month and contains Gmail, Calendar, Drive applications, which earlier formed a part of its G Suite service.
The messaging service would be available as part of Gmail, as well as in a standalone Chat app. It contains features like direct and group messaging, alongside the possibility to collaborate with others and share files, said Leske.
Google Fi users would be able to use Messages to manage their SMS, instead of Hangouts. Similarly, they would be able to use Messages to make voice calls and check voicemail.
Why It Matters: The group chat, collaboration, and integration of other tools pitch Chat as a rival to offerings of Slack Technologies Inc (NYSE: WORK), Zoom Video Communications Inc (NASDAQ: ZM), Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Teams, and Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ: FB) Workplace.
Google was accused of leveraging its dominance by a Congressional committee probing antitrust issues this month.
Last month, Slack said it added 8,000 net new paid customers and it had more than 87 paid customers that provided it with revenue in excess of $1 million in recurring revenue. The company raised its revenue by 49% year-over-year to $215.9 million in the second quarter.
Zoom grew its revenue by 355% to $663.5 million, as per its second-quarter results.
Price Action: Alphabet Class A shares closed nearly 0.5% lower at $1,555.47 on Thursday. On the same day, the company’s Class C shares closed almost 0.6% lower at $1,559.13.