Google Hangouts Chat release includes accounting bots

Google has released its competitor to Slack, Hangouts Chat, with in-built third party bots to serve accountants. Xero offers an integrated bot for bookkeepers and accountants to stay in touch with their clients; and Egnyte has integrated its document management solution as a bot within the chat platform as well.

Hangouts Chat has been added to Google’s business services platform, G Suite.

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A sign featuring Google Inc.'s logo stands at the company's Asia-Pacific headquarters during its opening day in Singapore, on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Google officially opened its new hub in Singapore today. Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

Xero’s chat bot, called Ask, has been available via the accounting software provider’s firm dashboard platform, Xero HQ, for half a year. Now, users can access Ask directly from Hangouts Chat, a messenger platform built for teams.

With Ask, queries are sent directly to client email addresses stored within Xero HQ. Each query is stored within Xero HQ along with client responses and any attachments.

According to an Egnyte blog post, G-Suite is popular among Egnyte document management users. Hangouts Chat users can add the Egnyte bot to their Chat room, then share files with team members with the command “@Egnyte share,” followed by picking the file. The file can be accessed directly from Chat.

Hangouts Chat will also render thumbnails for documents or images shared via public links. When sharing private links, Egnyte will automatically enforce permissions to check if team members have access to the document if clicked on.

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