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Hangouts Chat vs Slack: Can Google’s Team Chat Compete Against the Market Leader?

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If you’ve been using G Suite for in the past years, you must have noticed one aspect of their offer – Hangouts Chat. While it has changed over the years, Hangouts has stayed as one of the most prominent team chat apps out there, primarily because it’s so well integrated into Google’s offer.

If you’ve been following our blog, you may have noticed that we love comparing team chat apps in our team chat wars. While getting familiar with other apps, we learn about them and find out how to make something better with Chanty. If you’re interested in a team chat app that is simple, easy to use and affordable, consider giving Chanty a try!

Today, we want to find out how Hangouts Chat compares with the most successful app in the game – Slack.

Hangouts Chat vs. Slack: overview

Compared to Hangouts, Slack is kind of a dinosaur. Launched in August 2013, Slack was created by Steward Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr. Seven years later, Slack is one of the most successful startups in the world and fastest-growing software company ever.

In comparison, Hangouts Chat is much younger. It was launched in 2017 for early adopters, with the official release happening in February 2018. Ever since, Google has added a large number of useful features, including notification snoozing and emoji reactions.

If you’re in a hurry, here is a table as a quick overview of Slack and Hangouts Chat:

SlackHangouts Chat
PlansFree (Up to 10k messages, 10 apps & integrations, 1-to-1 video calls)

Standard $6.67 per active user, per month (billed annually)

Plus $12.50 per active user, per month (billed annually)

Available in G Suite editions:

Basic $5 per user, per month

Business $10 per user, per month

Enterprise $25 per user, per month

Message history limit10K messages in Free plan; unlimited in Standard and Plus plansNot specified
Audio/video callsUnlimited 1:1 voice and video calls in Free plan;

conference calls for up to 15 participants in Paid plans

Available via Hangouts Meet, the maximum number of users – 25 in Basic and Business plans and 50 in Enterprise plan.
Integrations10 integrations limit in Free plan, 1000+ integrations in paid plans50+ integrations
File storage limitFree plan: 5GB file storage for a team

Standard plan: 10GB per user

Plus plan: 20GB per user

Basic G Suite plan provides you with 30GB storage, Business and Enterprise give you unlimited storage
Screen sharingUnavailable in Freemium version, available in Standard and Plus versionsVia Hangouts Meet in all plans
Interface color optionsCustom sidebar themesNot specified
Conversation threadsYesYes

Now, let’s go into more detail.

Hangouts Chat vs. Slack: pricing

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Hangouts doesn’t have a freemium version, at least not in the moment of writing. So, if you’re not ready to spend money on a team chat app, it’s clear that Hangouts won’t be the right fit for you.

If you do want to spend some cash, it’s worth considering Hangouts. Bear in mind that it doesn’t come as a separate product – it actually comes with G Suite. If you’re already using G Suite, it’s a no-brainer to try this tool out. If not, it’s worth considering the extra perks of G Suite such as more file storage and the ability to use all of the tools that come besides Hangouts.

To make the pricing clearer, here is a table comparing the two tools:

Slack

FreeSearch up to 10k messages
Up to 10 apps & integrations
1-to-1 video calls
Standard

$6.67 active user/month (billed annually)

Unlimited search
Unlimited apps
Group calls with screen sharing
Guest accounts & shared channel
Plus

$12.50 active user/month (billed annually)

Some business-grade features

Hangouts Chat (G Suite editions):

Basic

$5 per user, per month

30GB storage

Up to 25 users in video and voice calls

Business

$10 USD per user, per month

Unlimited storage and archiving

Up to 50 users in video and voice calls

advanced search (across content in G Suite)

Enterprise

$25 per user, per month

Some advanced control and security G Suite features

Hangouts Chat vs. Slack: onboarding

The onboarding process in the two apps is fairly similar. Both tools will welcome you with a few modal boxes, with basic information to get you started. Once you join a workspace, both Hangouts and Slack will give you boxes that help you get familiar with the key features of the app.

A box with pointers in SlackA box with pointers in Slack

Hangouts Chat vs. Slack: design and UX

Both tools have vertical layouts with just two basic fields: contacts, bots and settings on the left and conversations on the right. Also, both Slack and Hangouts Chat come with a smaller horizontal panel for search and additional features.

Hangouts Chat layoutHangouts Chat layout

You can’t customize your workspace in the web version of Hangouts, while Slack has this feature.

Options for customizing in SlackOptions for customizing your workplace in Slack

Hangouts Chat vs. Slack: messaging

This is one aspect where the two apps are very similar. Both have special places for group conversations: they are called Rooms in Hangouts Chat and channels in Slack. Both apps let you send private messages (one-to-one), as well as group ones. However, there are some differences.

First, Rooms in Hangouts Chat are private by default. No one outside of your G Suite can see them or join them unless they are invited. On the other hand, when you create channels in Slack, you choose between making them public or private.

Channel creation

Moreover, Hangouts doesn’t have something similar to public channels in Slack.

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Two, Hangouts Chat bases its entire public communication on threads. On the other hand, threads are an additional feature in Slack.

Once you launch Hangouts, you’re using threads, even though you may not know it. You can start a new thread at any time.

Conversation threads in Hangouts chat

In Slack, you can use threads if you like, but they are completely optional. Each channel is like a chatroom that focuses on a single topic. If you want to spread the conversation, you can open up a thread. However, this is not a primary feature in Slack.

Threads in Slack

Third, Hangouts Chat has Smart Reply. On the other hand, Slack allows you to create posts and add code snippets.

While not an ideal comparison, it’s worth mentioning that these features are unique for each of the tools mentioned.

Smart Reply is a feature that you’ve probably used in your Gmail inbox. The algorithm will anticipate what you want to write and offer you smart reply suggestions, which can be rather neat and save some time every day.

Hangouts Chat's ‘Smart Reply’

Slack has something unique too – you can create posts within a single message, as well as add code snippets. Also, something else that some users may appreciate: Slack has more text formatting options so you can edit your text in a variety of ways.

Formatting options in Slack

If you want to do some message formatting in Hangouts Chat, you have to snoop around a little bit to find this feature. If you don’t know the usual text formatting commands (such as adding an asterisk before and after a word to make it bold), you’ll have to search a bit to find the text formatting features in Hangouts.

Messages in Hangouts Chat

As you can see, the two tools are slightly different when it comes to messaging, so it’s a good idea to try both and see how you like them before committing.

Hangouts Chat vs. Slack: Notifications

To keep it short and simple, Slack’s notifications are much more powerful and diverse than those in Hangouts.

First, you can set up notifications for specific channels and keywords in Slack only. Moreover, you can set up your Do Not Disturb mode for certain hours in the day.

Slack DND notificationsSlack DND notifications

On the other hand, Hangouts Chat lets you set up different notifications preferences for your devices – web, email, desktop and mobile.

Notification settings in Hangouts Chat

Slack does the same thing but in a very limited manner – you can only set up notifications for periods when you’re not active on desktop.

Slack "not active" notifications

Hangouts Chat vs. Slack: search

Here are the basic remarks we have after using the freemium versions of both apps.

First, Slack’s search is more advanced.

Both tools let you specify results for a specific person, channel and file type. However, Slack is more advanced – you can search within a specific time period and you can even exclude some channels from your search.

Search filters in SlackSearch filters in Slack

Second, Slack lets you search within documents.

If someone sends you a document and you forget what it’s called, don’t worry. You can search the document based on the words mentioned. This is really useful if you work with a lot of Word or PDF documents.

I wanted to test out this feature, so I sent a document to a colleague, one of the ebooks which we wrote. I typed the name of the last chapter in the search box, and of course, Slack was able to find it.

SearchA snippet of the book                                                   Slack found it!

On the other hand, if you want the advanced search options in Hangouts Chat, they are only available within the Business and Enterprise packages in G Suite. When you upgrade to these plans, you can search your entire company’s content in G Suite, which includes Gmail, Drive, Docs, Slides, Calendar and much more.

Integrations

Once again, this section will be sort of lopsided, for one reason. At the moment of writing, Hangouts Chat has around 50 available integrations, while Slack has more than 1,000. So it’s a good idea to check your most-used apps and see if they integrate with Slack or Hangouts before choosing them as your team chat app.

I wanted to test out integrations really quickly, so I tried to connect the Reminder Bot with both apps and everything went great. You can easily connect the service in both tools if you just follow the instructions.

Using Reminder Bot in SlackUsing Reminder Bot in Slack

Both apps have integrations with task management tools like Asana and Trello. Slack has an Actions feature, which lets you create and finish tasks without leaving the app, which is something I didn’t find in Hangouts Chat.

By the way, one app that lets you create and manage tasks directly from your chat is Chanty. Your workflow will be even smoother than it would be if you integrate a third-party app like Asana or Trello. If you’re ready to give Chanty a try, sign up for a free demo today!

Slack vs. Hangouts Chat: voice and video calls

Before going any further, let’s mention one important fact: you cannot invite more than 15 people on a single call in Slack, no matter which plan you choose. If you’re on the free plan, you can only make one-on-one calls.

Notification about Group calls limit in SlackNotification about Group calls limit in Slack

If you want to have video calls in Hangouts Chat, you have to use Hangouts Meet. With the most basic G Suite account, you can have calls with up 25 team members. If you upgrade to Business or Enterprise, the number increases to 50 call participants. However, both apps let you bypass this limit by connecting with third-party apps and integrations.

The second difference is that it’s easier to call people in Slack – it’s just one push of a button. In Hangouts Chat, you need to click quite a few buttons to start your call.

Hangouts Chat video call

Both tools let you talk during the video call, mute your microphone or turn off your camera.

Chanty team is testing video calls in Hangouts ChatChanty team is testing video calls in Hangouts Chat.

Emojis in Slack's video call

In Slack, there’s a fun feature unavailable in Hangouts Meet. You can react with emojis to what your colleague said.

Wrapping up

If you want a quick summary of the comparison between Slack and Hangouts Chat, it would be this: Slack has more features and Hangouts is easier to use.

If you’re deciding which of them to use, consider the following:

Pricing. Hangouts Chat doesn’t have a premium version and Slack does. The cheapest Hangouts plan is $5 per user per month and Slack’s cheapest plan is $6.67 per user per month.

Messaging. Hangouts Chat is based on threads, while this is merely an extra in Slack.

Notifications. Slack’s notification settings are more diverse. However, both tools have the basic notification functionalities.

Search. Both tools let you search messages, links and file names. Slack has the extra feature of searching within documents, even in the free version. In Hangouts, you can only do this with a Business or Enterprise plan.

Voice and video calls. You can only call up to 15 people in Slack, no matter which plan you are on. In the free plan, you can only make one-on-one calls. In Hangouts, you can talk with up to 50 people, depending on your chosen plan.

If you’re still looking for a great team chat app but you cannot decide between Slack or Hangouts, why not try the third alternative? Chanty is an intuitive team chat app that lets you communicate and collaborate with your team with ease. Besides text messages, it also supports audio and video calls, screen sharing, voice messages, task management and much more.

What’s more, Chanty offers an unlimited search history and unlimited messages even in the free plan. If you want to learn more, book a free demo today!

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Mile Živković

Mile Živković is a content writer and work-life balance expert at Chanty – a simple, AI-powered Slack alternative. When Mile isn't busy writing epic posts on productivity, work-life balance and time management for Chanty blog, he's probably driving somewhere. His hobbies include cars (huge fan of Alfa Romeo), photography and collecting pocket knives. You can catch him on LinkedIn.

2 comments

  • Google pricing includes G.Suite. Does Slack include anything similar or you still need G-Suite? or MS Office? Does Chanty include it?

    For the pricing, I think Hangouts chat is more than enough and some of the fancy things that Slack has I believe will come soon. You can also easily add web hooks or Bots if you need extended functionality. Not worth investment. Probably I am missing something???

    • Hi LincolIP and thank you for your questions. You are right, Hangouts Chat is a part of GSuite. Slack doesn’t have any kind of office package included however you can connect all kinds of apps to Slack. You сan also connect Chanty with third party apps via some built-in Chanty integrations or Zapier, which supports 1000+ integrations. Other than that the choice of a team communication app for your team at work really depends on your needs. Hopefully, this article gave you an idea and helped you make the right decision. We encourage you to give Chanty a try, you’ll appreciate the simplicity, intuitive UI, organized communication and our built-in task manager that lets you turn any message into a task.

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