After our report last year that Google plans to shut down classic Hangouts in 2020, the company announced that it was “fully committed” to supporting classic Hangouts users until it completed a “successful” migration to Hangouts Chat and Meet. The company didn’t detail a timeline for the Hangouts transition then, but now that day has come — at least for G Suite users.
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Google has three important dates for G Suite customers to know regarding the evolution/consolidation/upgrade of classic Hangouts to its newer Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet products.
It all begins on April 16th, when many behind-the-scenes changes will take place that will require G Suite administrator action. Google has detailed the changes that will begin taking on April 16th on its G Suite Updates blog.
The following admin-facing changes will begin taking place on April 16, 2019:
For Google Vault customers, Mail retention rules and holds will stop protecting chat messages in classic Hangouts. Instead, Chat retention rules and holds will protect chat messages in both classic Hangouts and Chat.
Chat admin settings will now control chat capability in both classic Hangouts and Chat.
A new setting in the Admin console under Apps > G Suite > Hangouts Chat will be added so you can disable classic Hangouts user interfaces at a time of your choosing.
The “Google Hangouts” settings page in the Admin console will be renamed “Hangouts Meet.” This setting will control both classic Hangouts video and Hangouts Meet.
Google also mentioned last year that many of classic Hangouts’ features would eventually be ported to Hangouts Chat, and it seems the company is following through on that promise.
Today, Google is announcing a rough timeline for those features coming to Chat for G Suite users, namely between April and September 2019. Those features are detailed today for the first time to include integration with Gmail, chatting with users external to your organization, improved video calling, and making calls with Google Voice.
Finally, perhaps the most important date, Google says it will begin retiring classic Hangouts for G Suite customers in October 2019. It sounds likely that this will be a staged or gradual turndown, and Google says “more notices and details will be shared on the G Suite Updates blog in the future.”
The company also added some details on its plans for the consumer version of Hangouts and its transition to a freemium Hangouts Chat alternative.