Google Chat is set to become the new default chat app for Workspace customers starting next month. The app will replace the classic Hangouts experience on Gmail on the web, and the Hangouts mobile apps will also start redirecting Workspace users to the new Google Chat app.
“Beginning March 22, 2022, we’ll turn on the “Chat preferred” setting for any customers who haven’t already done so, making Google Chat the default chat application,” Google explained yesterday. “Except for a few special cases, all the conversation history from Hangouts will be available in Google Chat. However, starting mid-March 2022, any newly created spaces in Google Chat within your domain will not appear in classic Hangouts”
If organizations won’t be able to opt out of this change next month, the classic Hangouts app will remain available for consumers with a regular Google account. The Hangouts.google.com domain is also not going away.
Google does plan to migrate all consumers still using Classic Hangouts to Google Chat eventually. It’s already been possible to migrate Hangouts conversations to Google Chat since last year, and Google has already pushed Google Fi and Google Voice users to its new Messages and Voice apps, respectively.
It’s been pretty hard to keep up with Google’s messaging strategy in recent years, and for a while, it looked like the company couldn’t pick one app and really stick to it. Well, Google Chat is actually pretty solid now, and it supports modern messaging features that classic Hangouts didn’t have such as @mentions and Smart replies.