Technology giant Google announced it will move Hangouts users to Google Chat next year. Google Chat will be available as a free service — both in the integrated experience in Gmail and the Chat standalone app.
Google said its users can begin upgrading from Hangouts to Chat starting in the first half of 2021.
Google will help automatically migrate Hangouts conversations, along with contacts and saved history.
Chat includes Hangouts features like direct and group messaging, with helpful additions like send to inbox, faster search, emoji reactions and suggested replies.
Google Chat enables customers to easily plan with others on goals and similar interests, share and collaborate on files, and assign tasks to help keep everyone on the same page.
“Chat features the same strong phishing protections we built in Gmail, so if a link is sent to you via Chat, it will be checked against real-time data from Safe Browsing and flagged if it’s found to be malicious,” Google said.
Voice users have historically been able to get calls to their Google Voice number using Hangouts.
Beginning this month, Google will direct Hangouts Voice users to the Voice app for text messaging and calling going forward, and early next year, it will remove Voice support in Hangouts.
Last June, Google introduced the Chat preferred setting in the Admin console to allow any admin to opt-in to migrate all end users to Chat in Google Workspace. It also made Chat preferred configurable at the organizational unit level.
Google will send notifications to Google Workspace admins to detail the final migration stages.