Get ready: Google Chat is replacing Hangouts for more users

Google is preparing its Workspace customers to switch from legacy Hangouts to its Chat app.

Google is preparing its Workspace customers to make the shift from Hangouts to Chat and the switchover starts on August 16.

From then on, Google will push users who have selected the "Chat and classic Hangouts" to "Chat preferred," unless the user or admin explicitly opts out.

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It's a big shift in Google's unwieldy messaging app strategy that spans Hangouts, Meet and Chat, as well as Allo and Duo. The new Chat messaging app is available in Gmail and as a standalone app in iOS and Android. 

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In October, Google said that it would start migrating everyone from Hangouts to Chat in the first half of 2021, and would automatically migrate Hangouts conversations, contacts and saved history. 

Today it offered a clarification: "Unless you opt-out, Google Chat will replace classic Hangouts as the default chat application for your affected users." 

Later this year, Classic Hangouts will vanish and all users will be migrated to Google Chat. However, if admins want to opt out of the automatic switch to Chat, they can follow instructions on Google's support page.  

"If you don't take any action, all users in your organization who have the "Chat and classic Hangouts" setting selected will be automatically upgraded to "Chat preferred" and the "Chat and classic Hangouts" setting will no longer be accessible. We anticipate this migration to take around two weeks," Google said

Google also noted that direct calling won't be available in Chat until later this year. 

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"Chat doesn't yet support direct calling in the same way as classic Hangouts. We anticipate direct calling to become available for Google Chat later this year – we will provide an update here when that feature becomes available," said Google.

Google cut off its Electron-based version of Chat earlier this year in favor of a Chrome-based Progressive Web App (PWA).