Google has confirmed that users of its Hangouts communications software will have to migrate to Google Chat next year. The announcement comes less than a month after the launch of Google Workspace, the rebranded collection of business collaboration and productivity tools that includes Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Chat, and Meet.
It has now been announced that Chat will replace Hangouts for everyone starting next year. The chat is free to use for consumers and is available in Gmail and as a standalone app. All of the Hangouts features are retained, along with a few new chat additions like suggested replies and emoji reactions.
“Anyone can start upgrading from Hangouts to Chat in the first half of 2021
A new place to hang out
In the meantime, Google has also announced some changes for certain Hangout users. Support for Hangouts will be retired from Google Fi and Google Voice early next year, and the phone calling feature will also be removed soon to comply with new regulations being introduced in the EU and US.
Google is keen to make the Hangouts to Chat migration as smooth as possible, so it’s sending notifications to administrators of all the necessary steps business users need to take.
Hopefully the process is less confusing than Google’s general communication strategy. In addition to Hangouts and Chat, the company also has Duo for video calls and has already put Google Allo in the field. We hope moving everyone to chat leads to a simpler approach.