Google will largely force Workspace users to use Google Chat instead of Hangouts from March 22. Admins can now choose to continue using Hangouts. The browser version of Hangouts will remain available for the time being.
Force transfer to Chat happens in stages, where the chat preference setting determines when the users are transferred. If the admin has set that preference to enable both Chat and Hangouts, Hangouts will be phased out starting March 22. Three weeks later, all users who fall under this preference should be able to use only Chat.
Admins who have only set Hangouts as their chat setting will start on April 4. Google will allow five weeks for this group, after which all Hangouts users must be switched to Chat. Google says it won’t be possible to use Hangouts later through the Gmail web version or the Hangouts mobile apps. Hangouts.google.com will continue to work for now, the company says.
Google has been trying to “upgrade” Workspace users to Chat for years. Nothing will change for private use of Google Hangouts for the time being. Individuals can still use Hangouts, but they are advised to switch to Chat.
Google Chat is a chat app which was developed for business use, and is to take over the chat functions of the video and chat service Hangouts. Meet took over the video calls from Hangouts. In Google Play, users are complaining about Chat. They say the app is worse and lacks chat features compared to Hangouts. They also complain that Chat is slow, it is not possible to send multiple images and that it is not visible when users have read messages. In addition, users do not like that they have to install a separate app to be able to make video calls, while this was possible with Hangouts within the same app.