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AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File

Slack, the popular workplace chat service, has a new competitor: Google.

Hangout at work: On Thursday, the search giant announced that it's turning the business version of Hangouts, a chat and video-calling tool that always seemed to have more potential than how it was used, into a service for teams and coworkers to communicate. You know, like Slack. Hangouts Meet will be a video-conferencing tool, while Hangouts Chat will be a tool for messaging and sharing files. And like Slack and other similar services, Hangouts already has partnerships to easily integrate with other work tools like Asana and Zendesk.

Competitors: Sending chats to coworkers is nothing new. HipChat and Yammer, for example, have been around for years and in November, Microsoft announced it was working on a tool of its own which will become available next week. Though Slack's brand is well established and it's not a service that most organizations can easily switch given all the history and information already stored in it, Google could have an advantage because so many companies use its email and file storage products.

Go deeper

18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.

Mike Pence calls Kamala Harris to offer congratulations and help

Mike Pence. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.