Google has several nearly-identical communication services that confuse many people to decide which one to use. Products like Hangouts, Chat, Meet, and Duo do nearly the same thing, but now Google has decided to make things simple. The tech giant has now announced that it will make the Google Chat instant messaging service free for everyone in 2021 and will replace Hangouts. The company has decided to completely shut down Hangouts in 2021 and will allow free migration to Chat next year.
Google Chat is currently a paid service for Google Workplace customers and is Google’s answer to Microsoft Teams and Slack. The instant messaging service provides various collaboration tools and more security enhancements that aren’t there in Hangouts. However, it is now going to be free in the coming year.
Google Chat Features and Migration From Hangouts
While Hangouts may start replacing Chat in 2021, it isn’t an exact one-to-one replacement. Google Chat offers numerous additional features for group chats and collaboration and new security tools. It will also be integrated deeply into the Gmail app together with Rooms and Meet. Google will automatically migrate the Hangouts contacts, conversations, and history to Chat, it said. By the end of 2021, hangouts will shut down completely.
“With Chat, you can more easily plan with others on goals and similar interests, share and collaborate on files, and assign tasks to help keep everyone on the same page,” said Google in the blog post. Users can begin upgrading from Hangouts to Chat, starting in the first half of 2021. Google said it would help migrate conversations, contacts, and saved history from Hangouts. However, there are no clear steps yet to perform the Hangouts migration to Chats.
Google Fi and Voice Users
People using Hangouts with Google Fi will lose Hangouts support early next year. It primarily let users make calls and text messages from Hangouts. But, this experience will now migrate to Google’s Messages app. Also, for Google Voice users, a similar transition will happen. They’ll be now directed to the Voice app for making voice calls or text messages. Google will remove Voice support from Hangouts early next year too.