Chat Tools

Google Hangouts and Slack are two chat platforms for individuals and groups to connect through direct messaging with an individual or a group.

The use of these collaboration tools are not intended to replace emails, but rather gives the option of instantly messaging a Brandeis colleague. Whether your team members work in the same location, different locations or time zones across the globe, Google Hangouts or Slack helps keep you stay connected and engaged with your colleagues.

Hangouts       Slack


Use a direct messaging tool such as Hangouts or Slack to stay connect in real-time with your colleague. Start a one-on-one or group chat, and share files. Some examples where you might choose to use chat instead of email are:

  • For brief communications or quick questions.
  • For quick and informal communications with colleagues or friends.
  • For quick assistance or a question needing an immediate response.


Google Hangouts and Slack is approved for the sharing and exchange of Regulated Data only in private channels or direct messages. Regulated Data as outlined in the Written Information Security Policy (WISP) includes: personal information (PI), non-public financial information (NPI) or personal health information (PHI).


Many of the features of Google Hangouts and Slack are similar; we recommend you use the tool that is best for your team. Google Hangouts may meet your needs due to its integration with the Brandeis Google ecosystem, and its price (free). There are some groups at Brandeis that are currently using the Slack chat service for the robust private and public channel functionality.

Feature Hangouts Slack
Conversations You can create group threads or chat separately. You can create group threads or chat separately. In Slack, you can ping other people using @-mentions.
Channels You can create group threads.

You can create public or private channels for specific topics or audiences.

Shows when someone is typing You can see when someone is typing a reply. You can see when someone is typing a reply.
Notifications You can set and manage specific notifications.
You can set specific notifications to snooze mode if you don’t want to be disturbed during a specific time frame.

File Sharing

Note: Regulated data only.

You can add files and share with colleagues. You can add files and share with colleagues.
Searching You can search a topic and find all message thread(s) related to your search. You can search a topic and find all message thread(s) related to your search. 
Compatibility Can be accessed via web or mobile app (iOS, Android).

Can be accessed via web, desktop app, or mobile app (iOS, Android).

Cost Free for Brandeis community.

Offers free or paid tier service.  Learn more about Slack pricing.

Note: Slack offers higher education discount. See FAQs for more information.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts, part of the suite of Brandeis Google Apps, is a collaboration tool that enables you to converse and communicate with your colleagues in real-time in direct one-on-one or group chat messages. Hangouts is a click away in Gmail — available at no cost to the community and can be used on your computer or mobile device.


Slack is an instant messaging platform that allows you to create public or private workspaces where you can conveniently organize conversations, search the conversations and share files. It can run on your desktop, the web or your phone and stays in sync when you switch from one to the other.