After sunsetting Google Hangouts for Workspace users in February, Google’s now beginning the process of migrating free, personal Hangouts users to Chat. In an announcement posted to its blog, Google says people who still use the Hangouts mobile app will see a prompt to move to Chat.
As for users who use Hangouts in Gmail on the web, Google says it won’t start prompting users to make the switch to Chat until July. Hangouts will remain usable on its desktop site until November, and Google says it will warn users “at least one month” in advance before it starts pointing the Hangouts site to Chat.
Confusingly, Google Chat isn’t the same thing as GChat (or Google Talk), which Google discontinued for good earlier this month. (Hangouts was originally supposed to be the successor to GChat, but here we are.) The company first hinted at its plans to transition users from Hangouts to Chat in 2018 and made the feature free for all users in 2020.
If you’re still using Hangouts, Google should automatically transfer your existing conversations to Chat. The company also gives you the option of using its Takeout service to download a copy of your Hangouts data before it’s officially discontinued come November.
To entice users into making the switch to Chat, Google says it’s rolling out a few new features, including the ability to make direct calls, create in-line threads in Spaces (the rebrand of Rooms), as well as share and view multiple images.