After the rumours of the death of Google’s messaging platform Hangouts began circulating late last year, Google was forced to address the speculation, finally advising it would transition users to Hangouts Chat, their enterprise focused version of the service this year. Today they’ve announced more details on the transition including a timeline for users.
In the Google eco-system there’s Gmail users who access Hangouts Classic as it’s now known, and then there’s GSuite users – those who pay Google a monthly fee every month to use their service – who also currently use classic Hangouts and it’s these G Suite users that Google has today offered a timeline for.
The transition to Hangouts Chat will begin in April with changes to the way Google currently handles protection of Hangouts chats in Vault. They will move to a unified policy for Chat and Hangouts to smooth the transition. Once this is done, Google will then begin merging in features from ‘classic’ Hangouts to Hangouts Chat with the merging of features expected to be completed by September. Features that Google will merge from classic Hangouts to Hangouts Chat include:
- Integration with Gmail
- Chatting with external users
- An improved video calling experience
- Making calls with Google Voice
Once these feature are merged, Google has announced that Google will begin retiring classic Hangouts for their G Suite users. At this stage, Google hasn’t given a timeline for when consumer users of classic Hangouts will begin, though you’d expect it to be some time in 2020, after their paying customers are settled.
Google’s messaging strategy appears to be getting messier by the minute. Google has said that they will be making further announcements on the transition for G Suite users from classic Hangouts to Hangouts Chat throughout the year, and we’re hoping they’ll announce something for consumer users of Hangouts at some stage as well.