Rumors started to circulate in 2018 that Google planned to shut down its Hangouts service in the future to focus on other chat applications. Google did not deny the rumor but made it clear back then that it had plans to migrate users to the then-Enterprise products Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat by making these products available to consumers.
The company published details about the change yesterday on the official Google Suite blog. According to the information posted there, classic Hangouts will be retired for Google Suite customers in October 2019.
Google plans to make the change for Google Suite customers first. The company revealed that Google customers who don't use Google Suite will also be transitioned to free Chat and Meet applications but did not publish a timeline for the migration yesterday.
As far as Google Suite is concerned, the timeline is as follows:
G Suite Administrators find a new management setting under Apps > G Suite > Hangouts Chat to disable the classic Hangouts interface early. Another important change is that Chat retention rules will protect chat messages in classic Hangouts and Chat from April 16, 2019 onward. Classic Hangouts messages were protected by the Mail retention settings previously.
Lastly, Google Hangouts will be renamed to Hangouts Meet in the admin console and provide settings for classic Hangouts video and Hangouts Meet.
All classic Hangouts chat messages and direct messages will be retained indefinitely by default. Users may change these in the Google Vault settings. Customers can also use Google Takeout to export Hangouts data to the local system.
Google did reveal some of the classic Hangouts features that will land in Chat this year: the company mentioned integration with Gmail, chat options with external users, an improved video calling experience, and Google Voice calls support specifically.
All customers will be moved to Chat automatically starting in October 2019.
Classic Hangouts is not the only messaging service that Google will shut down in 2019. The company announced in 2018 that it would shut down Allo as well.
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