As announced, Google is beginning the full transition of Hangouts users to the Chat app starting this week. While the company allowed Google Workspace users to transfer their Hangouts conversations to the new Chat app earlier this year, other users will now get help from Google to make a smooth transition.
This move follows the announcement made in October 2020, when Google made Chat available to everyone. Since then, the company has given users the option to continue using Hangouts or switch to the new Google Chat app, which has a standalone app or can be accessed on the web through Gmail.
The option is no longer optional, as the remaining users of Google Hangout mobile users will start seeing an in-app screen recommending that they switch to Chat in Gmail or the Chat app. Similarly, users of the Hangout chrome extension will receive alerts prompting them to use the Chat web app or install the app individually. And, starting next month, consumers using Hangouts through Gmail on the web will be automatically upgraded to Chat in Gmail.
The switch to chat does not affect ongoing conversations, as it will allow users to pick up where they left off in the Hangouts app, which is convenient. Google has hinted that Hangouts will still be available later this year. That said, Google encourages users to upgrade to the new app as soon as possible, as they’ll see an in-product notice at least a month before Hangouts is redirected to Chat on the web.
Google also insists that this feature will no longer be possible after November 2022, hinting that Hangouts will be shut down the same month.
Google Chat is inevitably a better alternative than Hangouts, as it offers more options like editing Google Docs and Sheets side-by-side without disturbing the ongoing conversation, for example. The Chat also has Spaces where users can share ideas and work on documents as a team, to name a few. The other great feature is the new built-in view in Gmail, which lets users access their inbox, spaces, and Meet in one place.
While you can still access Hangouts on the best Android phones, it’s time to make the switch as soon as possible as it brings more features and better integration. Google is hinting that it has bigger plans for Chat’s future, and Android phone users can likely see those in the coming months. This could include a direct call feature alongside the online chat thread in Spaces and the ability to share and view multiple images.