Google's Classic Hangouts instant messaging service will be officially sunsetting within a month. Business and enterprise users will all see the service leave on or before March 22, 2022.
The replacement will be Google Chat, and thanks to an automatic redirect, all Google Workspace customers will be on Chat by the end of March, whether they get the memo or not.
If this seems like old news to you, that's because it kinda is: We've been discussing this Google migration since October 2019. Finally, the end is in sight.
What to Know
Across the weeks leading up to March 22, 2022, Google's activating a “Chat preferred” setting to make Chat the default for all customers across the board.
Both Hangouts in Gmail on desktop and the Hangouts mobile apps will redirect to Chat. Hangouts.google.com will “continue to work,” Google explained in a blog post about the change, adding that it “is not possible to opt out of this change.”
“After domains are upgraded to ‘Chat preferred,' all classic Hangouts applications, except hangouts.google.com, will be disabled. Additionally, the ‘Chat and classic Hangouts' and ‘Classic Hangouts only' settings will be removed from the Admin console,” Google explains.
Google also indicates that it may be possible to export classic Hangouts and Chat data, although there does not seem to be a simple way to do so.
Google Branding: Kind of a Mess
One last thing: This is all applicable to enterprise and business users, but will not affect personal use of Hangouts from a Google account.
For personal users, Hangouts seems to be remaining the main messaging and video call service. Business users will have the different branding of Google Chat for messaging and Google Meet for video calls — the latter of which was already rebranded from “Hangouts Meet” back in April 2020.
Google's free services and business software might offer amazing functionality, but this latest rebrand is far from the first sign that the higher-ups at Alphabet love to shuffle rapidly through different brands and names. G Suite was once Google Apps for Work, which was once Google Apps for Your Domain.
Their messaging apps have included Allo, Duo, and Android Messages as well as “GChat,” but don't ask me to remember which brands became which.
Is Google Workspace for You?
You may not care about the difference between Chat and Hangouts, but you probably care about being able to complete your work as seamlessly as possible, and Google Workspace can help you there. It starts at $6 per user per month for the Business Starter plan, so the price is right.
It's a broad solution that ties in easily with Google's range of business softwares, which makes Microsoft 365 and its Microsoft integrations the closest platform to compare Workspace with. But if you're interested in a lower price for a more stripped-down service, consider Zoho Workspace instead.
Other project management services worth looking at include monday and Clickup — we've included a table with all the top options and prices below. And none of them will ever migrate your messaging abilities to Google Chat.
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