Google to migrate everyone from Hangouts to Chat for free in 2021

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Google will officially shift users from Google Hangouts to Google Chat next year. As part of the transition, Chat, a messaging service previously only available to customers who pay for Google Workspace, will now become a free service that is available inside of Gmail and in a standalone app. And some Hangouts features will disappear.

The transition from Hangouts to Chat will begin in the first half of 2021, when Google will offer tools to help automatically bring Hangouts conversations, contacts, and chat history to Chat. Google says it will automatically migrate all Hangouts conversations, contacts, and history to Chat. However, It is not clear what steps will be needed for that migration. Google did not provide any details but has promised to share the guidance at some point.

The company said that the switch from Hangouts to Chat will take place gradually, and at a point of time, both messaging services will be available. Slowly and steadily, all free users and Workspace customers will be moved over to Chat. Once this is completely done, then Chat will fully replace Hangouts.

To convince users over its move, Google says Chat not only offers features like direct and group conversations you might be familiar with from Hangouts, but it can also let you more easily plan and collaborate with others.

It’s also not when Google will force everyone to migrate and shut down the Hangouts servers for good.

Google also said that it is planning to remove some specific Hangouts features. Google plans to remove Google Voice support from Hangouts early next year. For voice calls and text messages, Hangouts users will be directed to the Voice app. In addition, Google will no longer let users call phone numbers from Hangouts starting early next year, and group video calls in Hangouts will use Meet starting in November.

Initially, Fi users were able to make calls and manage their text messages from Hangouts. That experience will migrate to Google’s Messages app. But if users want to use Google’s custom Messages features for Google Fi, they will have to disable RCS.

Early next year, Hangouts is getting rid of the ability to call domestic and international phone numbers. This is due to the upcoming US and EU regulation, with existing credits getting refunded. Group video calls in Hangouts will transition to Meet in November.


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