The classic Hangouts messaging service that has been part of Google Workspace for years will now start to disappear. This is according to the latest updates by the search engine giant. The service will be phased out as early as next month in an apparent transition towards Google Chat. The US tech giant has said that Google Chat will become the default messaging service. So, when users try to open Hangouts, they will instead be redirected towards Chats.
This will apply to all users, including mobile ones. In recent years, we have seen a constantly evolving messaging strategy from Google. The plan to shift from Hangouts to Chats started in June 2020. It has now taken nearly two weeks for the phase-out to begin. Also, Google has launched many voice and messaging applications as part of its Google Workspace.
But it is the evolving nature of this strategy that can be a bit confusing for users. For example, in 2017, the search engine giant announced that it was killing a voice and chat service known as Google Talk. It was replaced by Hangouts which as it turns out is now also going away. Google said that all conversations on Hangouts will be automatically migrated into Chats except in a “few special cases.” The company did not however specify what these cases will be.
It could be that there will be a time cap where older chats are ignored for the migration. The transition is also going to be somewhat mandatory. Google will not give users the option to opt-out of Chats. So, for Hangouts fans out there who have grown to love the application and its simplicity, it’s time to say your goodbyes.
Nonetheless, the search engine giant said that the domain name hangouts.google.com, which is simply the web version of Hangouts, will continue to work. The US tech giant did not however say how long it intends to keep this going. It is widely expected that as the wide-scale adoption of Chats becomes more apparent, there will be plans to phase out the domain name as well.
As of now, however, the new transition will solely affect Workspace users. Also, G Suite Basic and Business customers will be affected. In essence, if you use Google services as part of a business or larger organization, you will start to see these changes as soon as possible. However, even free Google Account users will likely be affected in due time.
Traditionally, after Google rolls out new features for the paid version of its Google Accounts, they tend to make it on the free version over time. There is also a feeling that Chat offers more features and usability compared to Hangouts.
During the pandemic, the need for online collaboration and communication solutions went up massively. Google, like any other tech giant, appears to be positioning itself for this boom. So far, the transition towards Chats is a huge step. The new updates should be able to reach global customers starting March 22.