If you’re a Google Workspace user, Hangouts’ classic messaging will disappear next month as part of the transition to Google Chat. Google has announced that starting March 22, it will make Google Chat the default chat application, meaning users will be redirected to Chat when they try to visit Hangouts in Gmail on the web or use the legacy Hangouts mobile apps.
The shift from Google Hangouts to Google Chat is the latest step in Google’s constantly evolving messaging strategy, which generally gets more confusing the more you read about it. This particular migration got underway in June 2020 and focuses on the messaging service integrated with Gmail. Google Chat should not be confused with GChat, the unofficial name for Google Talk, which was officially discontinued in 2017 and replaced by — you guessed it — Hangouts.
Existing Hangouts conversation histories carry over to Chat, except in “some special cases,” Google says. While it’s not possible to opt out of this transition, Google adds that the domain hangouts.google.com will continue to work.
For now, this change only affects Workspace users, as well as older G Suite Basic and Business customers. In other words, it affects people who use Google’s services as part of a business or organization. But 9to5Google notes that Google has previously indicated that users of free Google accounts will go through the same transition after Workspace.