Google was originally supposed to start the migration away from classic Hangouts to Chat in October 2019 for Workspace (previously G Suite) users. That switch was delayed, and the multi-stage plan did not start until June 2020. The final phase is now set for late March.
Beginning March 22, 2022, we’ll turn on the “Chat preferred” setting for any customers who haven’t already done so, making Google Chat the default chat application. This means that when users visit classic Hangouts in Gmail on the web or the classic Hangouts mobile apps, they’ll be directed to Chat.
Google says it is “not possible to opt out of this change.” That said, hangouts.google.com will continue to work, but the Android and iOS apps will be disabled. The vast majority of conversation history from classic Hangouts is already in Google Chat:
However, starting mid-March 2022, any newly created spaces in Google Chat within your domain will not appear in classic Hangouts. This means that messages sent in these spaces will only appear in Google Chat for your affected users.
If your Workspace organization’s Admin console setting is still set to “Chat and classic Hangouts,” the automatic upgrade (to “Chat preferred”) will occur “over the course of three weeks starting March 22, 2022.” Organizations with “Classic Hangouts only” set will see the transition commence over a five-week period starting April 4.
This upcoming classic Hangouts to Chat transition only impacts paid Workspace users and does not affect free personal Google Accounts. The company previously telegraphed that the migration would occur after all Workspace users are switched over.