Are you stuck juggling between your non-Google mail client and Google Meet for chatting? Are you not comfortable using your personal Google account or WhatsApp to chat with your co-workers? Maybe you’re just looking for something new and integrated.
Hangouts or Meet isn’t your only option anymore—the remote work boom (thanks to the pandemic) has brought out a handful of chat tools that let you connect with your colleagues, with added features like video chats and audio messaging. Plus, Hangouts simply isn’t enough for your business—especially if you need file sharing.
Here are some of the top alternatives for Google Hangouts to help you pick the right tool for your business communication.
Flock is built for communicating with your colleagues, just like Google Hangouts. But it goes beyond just chat and video conferencing—Flock works with all your other productivity tools like Google Calendar, Asana, Zoom, and many more.
Like Hangouts/Meet, you can find all your company contacts right within Flock. Flock takes a step further with a company directory and the facility to search for and join group conversations (channels) for any project you’re working on. Alos, unlike Hangouts, Flock has built-in audio and video conferencing as well as the ability to leave an audio message in any channel.
Flock is free for small teams that are just getting started, with unlimited messages, 10 public channels, and unlimited 1:1 video calls. Midsize teams who need more features can use Flock PRO and larger enterprises can upgrade with additional features
Slack, a software for business, works as a central hub for all your business’s communication, setting up separate channels and bringing on “the death of email” as they call it. Slack makes it easy to navigate multiple conversations at all times, with easy-to-find channels and the ability to join multiple Slack teams with just one login.
While Slack’s video functionality works well for 1:1 chats, it isn’t built around video conferencing. For group calls on video, you’ll need a Zoom or Jitsi integration, just like platforms such as Flock.
Telegram calls itself “the world’s fastest messaging app,” and allows quick sharing of videos, gifs, images, geolocation, and documents. Its “secret chats,” similar to Snapchat, are encrypted end-to-end with a self-destruct mechanism that deletes messages after a set period of time, from one second to one week. However, Telegram chats aren’t normally encrypted—so if you’re looking for a secure communication tool for your business, Telegram may not be your best bet.
Video calling on Telegram is new as of 2020 and only available for 1:1 videos. The jury's still out on whether it's an effective video conferencing tool—but its new profile video feature is a standout that this writer is hoping to see become the standard across messaging platforms. Telegram is best for small working groups or nonprofessional teams. Use it as a regular messaging app for more than two individuals. Telegram's runs on a "free forever" model.
Skype is a household name for those who communicate with loved ones or business partners who live a great distance away. However, Skype has traditionally been for one on one communications and only recently began to dive into supporting multiple profiles in one meeting.
Skype has proven to be reliable but is sketchy when it comes to business use. The reason for this is based upon the limited number of participants allowed at one time, which is currently capped at ten users.
A benefit to Skype is the ability to share files with participants, share screens, as well as an impressive chat feature.
Jitsi is an open-source platform that replaces Google Hangouts’ and Google Meets' chat and video functions. Jitsi allows for screen sharing and web conferencing and requires no software downloads; there’s a mobile app, too. Jitsi provides VoIP and Jabber texting for quick communication. The simple interface makes it a free and easy Google Hangouts alternative for small groups or 1:1 interactions. Jitsi is free and requires no signup to use.