Google has quietly launched a new video conferencing application called Meet by Google Hangouts, which is designed for HD video meetings. The web and mobile application appears to be the latest addition to Googles lineupof business products known as G Suite, though the product page on theG Suite website listed in the apps description page on the App Store is not yet live. [Update: app pulled.]
The URLmeet.google.com, however, is somewhat up-and-running. The siteresembles the landing page for Hangouts, but without the options to place a phone call or start a text chat. Instead, Meets page lets youenter a meeting code to join a meeting, as well as see those meetings you have scheduled. There does not appear to be a way to schedule a new call from the site as of yet.
Based on the screenshots and the App Stores detail page, Meet is meant to serve as a business-friendly alternative to Hangouts, the companys consumer-focused messaging, voice and video chat application.
Like Hangouts, Meet also offers group video calls, not just video chat, but inan expanded capacity.
Where Hangouts is limited to 10 people, Meet says it supports high-def video meetings with up to 30 participants.
It also includes other features aimed at making it easy to access these calls while on the go, including dial-in numbers for those who are traveling, links you can join with just a click, and integration with Gmail and Calendar for G Suite users.
The apps main screen displays a list of your scheduled meetings, along with other details like time, location, subject, attendees and more. You can click a green join button to attend ameeting from your phone, which launches the video chat interface. Buttons let you mute your call or switch off video.
Meanwhile, in large conferences, theres a main windowat the top where you can watch whos talking, followed by a longer list of participants screens, names and emails below.
Dial-in numbers are available only to G Suite Enterprise Edition customers,but thats the only limitation noted so far.
Google has not yet officially announced Meets launch, though it did note a team-friendly version of Hangouts was in the works back in September. However, the app didnt have the Meet branding back then, nor was it publicly available as Meet is now.
Currently, Meets mobile app is live on the iTunes App Store for the time being. Launched yesterday, ithas just started ranking in the U.S., at No. 1,177 in the Business category, according to data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. Its highest rank right now is in Ireland, at No. 375, also inthe same category.
Meets arrival comes at a time when Google has been refocusing its efforts with regard to Hangouts. The company in January shut down its Google+ Hangouts API, noting in a message to developers that Hangoutswas turning to focus on enterprise use cases. It also that month bought a startup called Limes Audio,which it said would bolster Google Hangouts voice quality.
As of the time of writing, Meet has not officially replaced Hangouts inthe G Suite lineup of products, according to the main webpage for Googles online business applications found at gsuite.google.com. Its unclear if Hangouts will eventually be shuttered, or if it will remain the consumer-facing version of Googles video chat service. (Um, besides Duo.)
Google has not responded to requests for comment.
Update: Google pulled the app from the iTunes App Store following our report.