Are you stuck bouncing between your non-Google mail client and Google Hangouts for chatting? Are you #done with using your personal Google account to chat with your coworkers? Maybe you’re just looking for something new.
Hangouts isn’t your only option anymore—the remote work boom has brought out a handful of chat tools that let you connect with your friends and 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.
We tested some of the top alternatives for Google Hangouts to help you pick the right tool for your business communication.
Top Google Hangouts/Google Meet alternatives to try in 2020
Did you think we’d start anywhere else? 😜 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 more.
Like Hangouts/Meet, you can find all your company contacts right within Flock. We take it one step further with a company directory and the ability to search for and join group conversations (channels) for any project you’re working on. And 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 getting started, with unlimited messages, 10 public channels, and unlimited 1:1 video calls. Midsize teams who need more features can use Flock PRO for $4.50 per user, per month. Large enterprises and organizations get even more features for $8 per user, per month.
Slack is great for chat—not so much for video conferencing.
Slack is the eponymous chat software for business. It works as a central hub for all your business’s communication, setting up separate channels and bringing on “the death of email” (their words, not mine). 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.
Discord's video chats are where gaming, socializing, and even cooking tutorials happen.
Disclaimer: This writer is a Discord Nitro user. ✋🏼
I use Discord to communicate with friends who live across the world; we use it to play tabletop games like Dungeons & Dragons, hold weekly virtual happy hours, and live stream movies and documentaries we can all watch together. Discord’s mix of voice and video features in chat lets us all connect instantly. My favorite Discord feature is the ability to set roles for individual users—for example, only my friends tagged with DnD can access our game board, so no stray conversations end up in that channel.
While Discord was built for gaming, plenty of communities (like influencers and interest groups) are building their own Discord servers, proving its business communication capabilities.
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.
When you first signed up for Facebook, did you ever imagine you'd be using it for work?
Facebook Messenger is used by 1.3 billion people worldwide, making it one of the top messaging apps—second only to WhatsApp. Because of its ubiquity, it’s easy for businesses and working groups to pick up, as most people already use the app. Messenger lets you share files and images with no compression, and allows for 1:1 and group video calling. With Facebook Workplace, Messenger can act as an all-in-one communication and Enterprise Social Networking tool for your company.
Facebook Messenger as you know it is free for all Facebook users. For additional features like unlimited groups, an org chart, unlimited file storage, and custom integrations, Facebook Workplace is available for $4 to $8 per user, per month.
Jitsi's open-source video conferencing rocks… but the auto-generated URLs can get weird.
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.
What’s your favorite Google Hangouts alternative? Tweet at us and we’ll add it to our list.