Google begins forced migration from Hangouts to Chat next year
Google will officially move users from Google Hangouts to Google Chat starting next year. As part of this change, Chat, an email service previously only available to customers who pay for Google Workspace (the recent rebranding of G Suite), will become a free service available in Gmail and as a standalone app. And some features of Hangouts will disappear before it's gone.
The transition from Hangouts to Chat will begin in the first half of 2021, when Google offers tools to help you automatically move your Hangouts conversations, contacts, and chat history to Chat, according to a blog post . It is not known what steps will be necessary for this migration, but Google says it is sharingwill have advice at some point.
This departure from Hangouts is not entirely unexpected - Google said in December 2018 that it was slated for transfer users from Hangouts to Chat and Meet at some point. Google has clarified a few more details about the change with The Verge after the original publication of this story.
The switch from Hangouts to Chat will take place gradually, and there will be a period in which both messaging services will still be available. Eventually, all free users and Workspace customers will be transferred to the chat. Once that's done, Chat will completely replace Hangouts.
As to why you want to switch from Hangouts to Chat before you have to, there are both carrotss and sticks. On the bright side, Google says chat not only offers features like direct and group chats that you may be familiar with from Hangouts, but it can also make it easier for you to plan and collaborate with others. 'other people.
Regarding moving away from Hangouts, Google also announced that it plans to remove some specific features from Hangouts. If you are a Google Fi user, Google will stop letting you handle texting and phone calls from Hangouts early next year. Instead, you'll be able to migrate existing Hangouts conversations to Google's Messages app and manage SMS and Fi calls in the Messages app for the web from "in the coming weeks ". But if they want to use Google's "personalized messaging features" for Google Fi, they need toront disable RCS. Messaging continues.
Google also plans to remove Google Voice support from Hangouts early next year, which means you won't be able to take calls from Voice in Hangouts. Instead, you'll need to use the dedicated Voice app for texting and Google Voice calls. Additionally, Google will no longer allow you to call phone numbers from Hangouts starting early next year, and group video calling in Hangouts will use Meet starting in November.
Update Oct. 15, 6:55 p.m. ET: Google has shared additional details with The Verge about the transition after the original post of this story, so we've been making updates throughout.