If you’re a Google Workspace user, the classic Hangouts messaging service will start to disappear next month 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.
The shift from Google Hangouts to Google Chat is the latest step in Google’s constantly evolving messaging strategy, which generally gets more confusing the more you read about it. This particular migration kicked into gear in June 2020, and focusses on the messaging service integrated with Gmail. Google Chat should not be confused with GChat, the unofficial name for Google Talk, which was officially killed off in 2017 and replaced with — you guessed it — Hangouts.
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.
For now, this change is only affecting Workspace users, as well as legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers. In other words, it’s impacting people who use Google’s services as part of a business or organization. But 9to5Google notes that Google has previously indicated free Google Account users will go through the same transition after Workspace.