Google Chat is set to replace Hangouts for business users

Google’s Classic Hangouts instant messaging service will be officially retired within a month. Professional and enterprise users will all see the service go no later than March 22, 2022.

The replacement will be Google Chat, and thanks to an automatic redirect, all Google Workspace customers will be on Chat by the end of March, whether or not they receive the memo.

If this sounds like old news, that’s because it kind of is: we’ve been discussing this Google migration since October 2019. Finally, the end is in sight.

What there is to know

In the weeks leading up to March 22, 2022, Google enabled a “Preferred Chat” setting to make Chat the default chat for all customers.

Hangouts in Gmail on desktop and Hangouts mobile apps will redirect to Chat. Hangouts.google.com “will continue to operate,” Google explained in a blog post about the change, adding that “opting out of this change is not possible.”

“After upgrading domains to ‘Preferred Chat’, all classic Hangouts apps except hangouts.google.com will be disabled. Also, ‘Classic Chat and Hangouts’ and ‘Classic Hangouts only’ settings “will be removed from the admin console,” Google explains.

Google also says it may be possible to export classic Hangouts and Chat data, although there doesn’t seem to be an easy way to do this.

Google branding: kind of a mess

One last thing: this all applies to business and professional users, but will not affect personal use of Hangouts from a Google account.

For personal users, Hangouts appears to remain the primary messaging and video calling service. Business users will have the different branding of Google Chat for messaging and Google Meet for video calling – the latter having already been rebranded from “Hangouts Meet” in April 2020.

Google’s free services and commercial software can offer amazing functionality, but this latest name change is far from the first sign that Alphabet’s top brass like to quickly browse through different brands and names. G Suite used to be Google Apps for Work, which used to be Google Apps for your domain.

Their messaging apps include Allo, Duo, and Android Messages as well as “GChat,” but don’t ask me to remind you which brands became which.

Is Google Workspace for you?

You might not care about the difference between Chat and Hangouts, but you probably care about being able to complete your work as seamlessly as possible, and Google Workspace can help you with that. It starts at $6 per user per month for the Business Starter plan, so the price is right.

It’s a broad solution that easily integrates with Google’s suite of business software, making Microsoft 365 and its Microsoft integrations the closest platform to compare Workspace to. But if you’re interested in a lower price for a more bare-bones service, consider Zoho Workspace instead.

Other project management services worth looking into include Monday and Clickup – we’ve included a table with all the best options and prices below. And none of them will ever migrate your messaging capabilities to Google Chat.

About Myra R.

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