Google has a multi-stage plan to shut down classic Hangouts and move enterprise Workspace customers to Chat. This latest step in advancing Google Chat adoption takes place next month.
For the past year, your Workspace administrator has been able to keep both classic Hangouts and Google Chat available for end users that they manage. Google is now moving companies on the “Chat and classic Hangouts” setting to one called “Chat preferred.”
This will see Google Chat replace classic Hangouts as the default chat application for a Workspace domain. The migration will start on August 16 and take two weeks for all users to see. At this point, the setting to maintain both services will be removed.
If there are affected users in your domain, you will receive an email notification that contains more information and any necessary action that needs to be taken.
However, the ability to opt out and keep both apps working remains. Similarly, there are no changes to domains that have already selected “Chat only,” “Chat preferred,” or “Classic Only.”
This is “phase 4” in Google’s plan to retire classic Hangouts for Workspace accounts. This opt-out is the penultimate step before the “mandatory upgrade” in late 2021. At that point, as Google reiterated today, “classic Hangouts will no longer be supported and all remaining users will be migrated to Google Chat.”
It’s important to note that Google has not detailed when classic Hangouts will stop working for free accounts. Google Chat is now available for all Gmail users, but classic Hangouts remains, though there’s work under way to deprecate it.