Google announced that starting today, people still using Hangouts on mobile will see an in-app prompt asking them to switch to Chat in Gmail or the Chat app. The company says the new prompt will help remaining users switch to Chat as Google works to officially shut down Hangouts in November.
People using the Hangouts Chrome extension will be prompted to switch to Web Chat or install the Web Chat app, the company says. In July, people who use Hangouts in Gmail on the web will be upgraded to Chat in Gmail. Google notes that while it’s encouraging everyone to switch to chat, Hangouts on the web will continue to be available until later this year. Users will see an in-product notice at least one month before Hangouts on the web starts redirecting to Chat on the web.
The company says that while conversations automatically migrate from Hangouts to Chat for most people, it encourages users who want to keep a copy of their data to use Google Takeout to download their data before Hangouts becomes unavailable.
“Google Chat provides a modern, integrated experience in Google Workspace,” said Ravi Kanneganti, product manager at Google Chat, in a blog post. “We have big ambitions for the future of Chat, and over the next few months you’ll see even more features such as direct calls, inline threading in Spaces, and the ability to share and view multiple images. As we take this final step to bring remaining Hangouts users to Chat, we hope users appreciate our continued investment in making Chat a powerful place to create and collaborate.
Google says switching to Chat will give users a better way to connect and collaborate with others. He notes that users can edit documents, slides or sheets with side-by-side editing. Chat will also give users access to Spaces, which is a dedicated place for thematic collaboration. Users will also have access to @mentions to notify someone in the group and will also have the ability to send GIFs.
Today’s announcement comes as Google said in October 2020 that it would let everyone migrate from Hangouts to Chat for free. Chat was originally intended to be just its Slack-like messaging service for business users, but has since become free for consumers.