Google Pushes Hangouts Holdouts to Chat

Google announced today that it will undergo the final phase of its nearly two-year-old transition from Hangouts to Google Chat.

“In October 2020, we announced Google Chat would be available for everyone,” Google’s Ravi Kanneganti writes in the announcement post. “Since then, people could continue using Hangouts or upgrade to Google Chat—available as its own app or within Gmail—to take advantage of its modern features and integration with other Workspace products. We’ve continued to invest in Chat to help people better collaborate and express themselves, and now we’re taking steps to help remaining Hangouts users move to Chat.”

Google notes that Chat offers several advantages over Hangouts, including side-by-side editing in Docs, Slides, and Sheets; the Spaces dedicated topic-based collaboration; and its integration into Gmail. And while it has allowed Hangouts users to remain on that app, it is finally taking steps to force the transition to Chat: starting today, Hangouts users on mobile will see a screen asking them to upgrade to Chat in Gmail or the Chat app.

Those who use the Hangouts Chrome extension will also be asked to move to Chat on the web or install the Chat web app. And then in July, those who use Hangouts in Gmail on the web will be upgraded to Chat in Gmail. Hangouts on the web will continue to be available until later this year, Google says, but users will see an in-product notice at least a month before Hangouts on the web starts redirecting to Chat on the web too. And then it’s over.

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