People using the Hangouts mobile app have already begun seeing a prompt asking them to upgrade to Chat, which is available both in Gmail and as a standalone app. “Similarly, people who use the Hangouts Chrome extension will be asked to move to Chat on the web or install the Chat web app. In July, people who use Hangouts in Gmail on the web will be upgraded to Chat in Gmail,” the blog post reads.
Hangouts will continue to run on the web until later this year, and Google promises to give users at least a month's notice before it starts redirecting users from Hangouts to Chat.
During the transition, Google should automatically migrate existing Hangouts conversations to Google Chat so users can easily pick up where they left off. The company also gives users the option of using Google Takeout to download a copy of Hangouts data before it becomes unavailable.
To encourage users to switch to Chat, Google introduces several new features, including the ability to make direct calls, share and view multiple images, as well as create in-line threads in Spaces.
Google Hangouts was removed from the Workspace office suite in February 2022, prompting users to switch to Google Chat. However, the basic free version of Hangouts for personal use was still available.
The Hangouts app has been running since 2013. According to the company, it is already outdated, and the transition to Google Chat will open new ways to communicate and work together.