Google Hangouts continues to creep towards its quiet death, reaching a new phase today that takes us one step closer to the end. Google is telling its Workspace (GSuite) customers that we are entering phase 4 and that means it’s time to make a decision or Hangouts is gone.
In phase 4 of the Hangouts phaseout, August 16 marks the date that your organization may lose access to several Hangouts features if you haven’t already moved everyone over to Google Chat. Google is taking away the “Chat and classic Hangouts” option that was previously still allowing users to access either experience at various places. Google is moving users over to “Chat preferred” unless they explicitly opt out.
Google is going to kill off Hangouts in “late 2021,” but if you opt-out (for now) of this “Chat preferred” option, you can still have Hangouts in the places you are used to. If you don’t, “Chat preferred” does things like this:
- “Chat preferred” replaces Hangouts in Gmail
- It kills off the mobile Hangouts apps and pushes people to Chat/Gmail
- The Hangouts Chrome Extension stops working
- hangouts.google.com will still be available, though
Basically, unless your Workspace admin opts-out of this change, “Google Chat will replace classic Hangouts as the default” chat application for your organization. This link will tell you how to opt-out.
So to recap, we still don’t have a firm final date for Hangouts, but this really takes us close to the edge. Google is now forcing Workspace customers over to Google Chat unless they opt-out within the next few weeks. And either way, they’ll take away Hangouts in the next few months anyway.