Google is accelerating efforts to replace Google Hangouts with Google Chat. The company has announced that from December 3, group conversations will start appearing in Hangouts under the Chat tab on Gmail. Additionally, Google Chat which is currently available for Google workspaces and other premium customers will allow users to add and change members of the new group conversation. Earlier in October, the software giant announced that Google Hangouts would officially retire in the first half of 2021 and its users would move to chat or Google Meet. In addition, Chat will be available as a free service next year – an integrated experience in Gmail and standalone apps.
The new development also means that old group messages will automatically move to Google Chat. In a blog post, Google said, “These changes ensure compatibility between classic hangouts and chat to ensure consistency.” In addition, Google Chat will now alert members about adding a new user to the group. The new member will be able to see the entire conversation, even easily holding messages sent before sending. Similarly, a group conversation can be easily created using the ‘Start a new chat’ option in the conversation settings menu.
At the same time, 1: 1 messages from Google Chat, updated group conversations and unread rooms will start appearing in Hangouts for Google services, which still have the platform integrated. This transfer of conversations and saved history from Hangouts is meant to ensure a “smooth transition” and preserve context. Finally, Google is also making changes to vault retention policies. “If you set a custom chat retention rule in Google Vault, the scope of coverage will change. The rules set for ‘All Chat Space’ will apply to existing chat rooms, plus updated group messages and group messages,” Google said Explained.
All new updates will begin on December 3, starting with Google’s workspace plans across all verticals such as Workbench Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus as well as G Suite Basic, Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, And nonprofits. Upcoming Google Chat features will not be available to Google Workplace Essentials and Enterprise Essentials customers.