Google has been working on moving users from Hangouts to Chat for good, for a while now, and they finally have a timeline for that. The time to permanently transition to Chat is near and Google’s latest update has put a date on when users will be moved.
According to a blog post on Workspace, Google is ready to move Hangouts into the last phase and this follows the opt-out migration option it had rolled out last year. From March 22 onwards, all users are going to automatically get “Chat preferred” enabled in their settings, if it is not already done. This is going to set Chat as your account’s default app for messaging and will redirect Hangouts in Gmail mobile apps to Chat. However, this time around this is permanent and you cannot opt out of this once it is done.
“Beginning March 22, 2022, we’ll turn on the “Chat preferred” setting for any customers who haven’t already done so, making Google Chat the default chat application. This means that when users visit classic Hangouts in Gmail on the web or the classic Hangouts mobile apps, they’ll be directed to Chat. Hangouts.google.com will continue to work. It is not possible to opt out of this change,” the company wrote.
When this transition is going to start depends on the Workspace admin settings. For users who have Chat and Hangouts enabled, they will see changes over three weeks starting March 22. Those only with Hangouts have time till April 4, post which the transition is going to take up to five weeks. Once this setting is set to Chat preferred, only hangouts.google.com will remain enabled.
Importantly, this particular transition is exclusive to Google Workspace users only, personal accounts have a different timeline and Google has not set a date for that yet.
In August last year, users who are not on Workspace started seeing banners prompting them to try out Chat, making way for the transition down the line. So, it is possible that a date might be set for these accounts too, eventually.
Google has been phasing out Hangouts for a while now and it kicked off with the Allo app they launched in 2016. This process is finally on its last legs now and the company is preparing to move to Chat.
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