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Google Workspace users to migrate from Hangouts to Google Chat in March

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Highlights:

  • Google Chat to replace classic Hangouts for Workspace users from March.
  • This change will come into force from 22 March 2022.
  • Hangouts.google.com will continue to operate on all devices, confirmed Google.

If you’re a Google Workspace user, the classic Hangouts messaging service will start to disappear as part of the transition to Google Chat. Google has announced that it’ll make Google Chat its default chat application beginning March 22nd, meaning users will be redirected to Chat when they try to visit Hangouts in Gmail on the web or try to use the old Hangouts mobile apps.

In a blog post, the company added that the move will ensure all Google Workspace customers will be using the same platform, with anyone trying to access Hangouts being redirected across to Google Chat. Existing Hangouts conversation histories will carry over into Chat except in “a few special cases,” Google says. Although it’s not possible to opt-out of this transition, Google adds that the hangouts.google.com domain will continue to work.

After domains are upgraded to “Chat preferred”, all classic Hangouts applications, except hangouts.google.com, will be disabled. Additionally, the “Chat and classic Hangouts” and “Classic Hangouts only” settings will be removed from the Admin console. Messages sent in classic Hangouts will continue to be retained and held according to policies set for Chat, and searchable and exportable with Gmail search in Vault. Messages sent in Chat are subject to retention rules and hold you set for Chat and searchable and exportable with Chat search in Vault.

Since 2018, Google had planned to employ standard Hangouts for Workspace users, but the migration to Google Chat will be obligatory on March 22. It’s the final stage of a five-step process to transition everyone from Classic Hangouts to Google Chat. On March 22, Google “may turn on the “Chat preferred” setting for all clients who haven’t done so before, making Google Chat the default chat app,” according to a report published by Google. The transfer will only take a little time.

Google Workspace: Reason for making this change?

The answer to this question is simple, but the process is a bit complicated. Google is heavily upgrading its workspace station to include Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Meet, Chat, and more. Centrally, Gmail aims to be the main hub offering integrated services like Chat and Meet, which means users don’t need to download a standalone app. However, the standalone app will provide access to more settings and features.

To complicate the process, Google initially offered a separate chatting platform called GChat which was phased out in 2017. It was replaced by Hangouts which is now being replaced by Google Chat. To enable Chat on Gmail web, go to Settings > Chats & Meet > Select Google Chat.

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