In June, the classic Hangouts to Google Chat migration started in earnest for G Suite customers. Free accounts are expected to get transitioned next, and there are now signs that this is underway. Over the past few days, classic Hangouts users are receiving messages in Google Chat.

This appears to be different from how Google Chat in May added support for external guests. Enterprise customers are able to invite Gmail users and give them access to Chat for specific conversations.

Rather, these messages are being sent from and received by users with free Google Accounts.

The only guidance Google has provided is that a free version of Chat will become available before classic Hangouts gets deprecated. Early last year, the company said a “more specific timeline will be communicated at a later date.”

There are now several reports of classic Hangouts users receiving personal messages in both the Hangouts app and Google Chat. Notably, the latter app only showed those recent messages and not the entire conversation history.

They are able to reply back in either app and have that message appear in both services. However, users are not able to start a conversation with a new contact through Google Chat.

Meanwhile, images sent with Chat only appear as links in the older app that note how it was shared “using the new Google Chat.” Furthermore, the Chat app still warns how “You can only join chats and rooms that you were invited to.”

Given those quirks, it doesn’t seem that this is an intentional rollout ready for prime time. There are many unknowns around how a free Google Chat will work. Regardless, it’s a crucial step towards shutting down classic Hangouts.

More about Google Chat:

Thanks Chay

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Abner Li

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