tech2 News StaffJan 23, 2019 18:14:23 IST
Google announced back in March 2017 that it would split Hangouts, its multi-platform messaging service, into two core apps catering to enterprise clients — Hangouts Chat, a team communication tool similar to Slack and Hangouts Meet, a Skype-like video conferencing application.
However, since then Google never really came out and announced a timeline for the changes to be implemented, until now. Google in a blog post lists a timeline which begins with the slow transition of G Suite users from classic Hangouts to Chat and Meet this year, followed by a complete transition of users, which will likely begin late in 2020.
Starting 16 April, Chat will become available on the web for G Suite domains that have classic Hangouts enabled, but it won't replace Hangouts just yet. Between April and September 2018, several Hangouts features including Gmail integration will come to Chat, before Hangouts is shut down in October. Google is also planning to add an "improved video calling experience," plus voice calls powered by Google Voice.
As for regular, non-enterprise users, Google says that users can expect to see a free version of Chat and Meet once the G Suite transition is completed.
As noted by TechCrunch in a report, Google began migrating Hangouts users to their video conferencing service, Meet last year. The transition wasn't difficult though given that Meet was a new service with new functionality. However, the same does not apply to Hangouts.