In the midst of the closure of Google+ due to security problems, Google has now released an updated timeline for the closure of the Google Hangouts messaging platform
On Tuesday, the company said in a post on the official GSuite Updates blog that the standard Hangouts system, known as "Classic Hangouts," will be officially closed in October 2019 for GSuite customers.
All G Suite users will be transitioned over to Hangouts Chat and Meet.
To avoid confusion, Hangouts Classic is a consumer-grade application which is widely used on the web and by Android users, racking up over a billion installs according to the Google Play Store.
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Hangouts Chat and Meet are services designed with enterprise users and "team communication" in mind.
Slack rival Hangouts Chat, despite promises of AI, bot support, and seamless integration with other Google services, has not proven popular -- as of yet -- with only 500,000 installs and Google Play feedback with low ratings.
Google Meet is the firm's answer to online video conferencing.
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It is not yet known when Classic will end for general consumers. However, past reports have suggested the service will close during 2020.
"We will continue to support consumer use of classic Hangouts, and expect to transition consumers to free Chat and Meet following the transition of G Suite customers," Google says. "A more specific timeline will be communicated at a later date."
GSuite users can expect changes to their service beginning on 16 April 2019. On this day, Chat will become available via desktop and mobile applications alongside Classic, but users will still be able to use the classic system in Gmail, mobile, web, or through the Hangouts Chrome extension.
Google Vault customers have been warned that between March 16 and April 16 an indefinite retention rule will be automatically created for Chat when Mail retention rules or holds are in place.
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"This rule is to protect all your chat messages in classic Hangouts when Chat rules start protecting them on April 16, 2019," the company says. "If you don't take set your preferred retention rules or holds in Chat and then remove the indefinite retention rule by April 16, 2019, all your chat messages in classic Hangouts and direct messages in Chat will be retained indefinitely."
Between April and September, features from Classic Hangouts will begin to move to Chat, and the system will be bolstered by Gmail integration, support for Google Voice calling, and the ability to chat with those outside of the domain.
By October, the classic version of the messaging system will be retired for GSuite customers. However, admins do have the option to transition their users over to Chat at any time.
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