Google Chat, the app formerly known as Hangouts Chat, will pick up wider usability starting today. After having been locked to conversations between G Suite users since it launched three years ago, Google’s business-focused messaging service will now allow users inside of organizations to chat with users outside of them.
To clarify, Google did not give regular ol’ folk the access to Google Chat they may want. Instead, Google Chat is still only available to G Suite users, but those G Suite users can now chat with people through Chat that are not in their organization. I know this sounds confusing, just try reading that back through a couple of times.
There are two things to be aware of here as far as the rollout goes. First, Google says that “Existing classic Hangouts conversations appearing in Chat” will gradually rollout starting today and could take up to 15 days before you’ll see them. For the ability to start new chats with external folks, that won’t start until May 26.
When you do see all of this happen, folks in conversations that are not a part of your organization will be labeled as “External.”
If you are a G Suite admin or know one, tell them to head into the G Suite admin panel and search for “Chat externally” or run through Apps>G Suite>Hangouts/Google Chat and look for “External Chat Settings.”
Google Play Link: Google Chat