All Workspace customers were migrated to Google Chat earlier this year. Google announced today that classic Hangouts is going away for free users in October and detailed the migration to Chat.
Since 2019, Google — as we exclusively reported — has been telegraphing that classic Hangouts will be replaced by Google Chat. Enterprise customers were the first to be switched over in a process that took some time to start and did not complete until recent weeks.
Google is now turning its attention to free, personal accounts that still have access to classic Hangouts.
Starting today, people using the old Hangouts mobile applications will be prompted by an upgrade screen to use Chat in the Gmail app or the standalone Chat clients (Android and iOS). Upon receiving this “It’s time for Chat in Gmail” message, the classic Hangouts app will stop working. The company says “conversations are automatically migrated” for most people.
Those that use the Hangouts Chrome extension are similarly directed to Chat on the web and/or install the Progressive Web App.
In July, those using classic Hangouts via web Gmail’s sidebar “will be upgraded to Chat in Gmail.”
However, people will still be able to use the hangouts.google.com client until classic Hangouts stop working, with availability planned for at least until October 2022. There will be a one month heads-up before that occurs and users are redirected to chat.google.com. That’s also the deadline for using Google Takeout to download a copy of your Hangouts data.
You can visit the Help Center for more information on the differences between Chat and Hangouts, the migration timelines, and why we recommend downloading your Hangouts data.
Looking ahead, Google Chat is getting features like direct calling, in-line Spaces threading, and the ability to share and view multiple images “over the coming months.” The company ultimately touts “big ambitions for the future of Chat.”
As we take this final step to bring remaining Hangouts users to Chat, we hope users will appreciate our continued investment in making Chat a powerful place to create and collaborate.
This transition plan starts as Google recently announced that Duo is being replaced by Meet. It starts with the existing Duo app being updated with all of Meet’s capabilities and a merged interface. Afterwards, Duo will be renamed into Google Meet.
Taken with the upcoming classic Hangouts-Chat plans, Google will soon have its most streamlined messaging strategy in a few years. Once complete, Meet is how Google wants people to video conference, while Chat is for non-phone number/RCS, text communications.
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