Google plans to phase out the classic Hangouts for Workspace users from 2018, but the mandatory switch to Google Chat is finally due on March 22.
It’s the final step in a five-step plan to migrate everyone from classic Hangouts to Google Chat. In a blog post, Google confirmed that on March 22, “we will enable the ‘Chat Preferred’ setting for any customers who haven’t already, making Google Chat the default chat application.”
Unfortunately for anyone who wants to continue using Hangouts at work, Google says, “It is not possible to opt out of this change.” Almost nothing is going to be lost during the transition, however, the conversation history will be available in Google Chat “except in some special cases”.
The change affects all Google Workspace administrators and end users, although end users don’t need to do anything as the switch will happen automatically. Administrators will also see that the switch happens automatically, but all users can pre-empt the change by upgrading to “Chat Favorites” before March 22.
Google says that the hangouts.google.com domain will continue to work, but after the switch it will load chats instead of Hangouts. If an organization decides they want to explore alternative messaging solutions, it is possible to export Hangouts and chat data. And for individual Google accounts, 9to5Google states that the same switch to chat is about to happen, but the workspace transition will be complete before Google tackles that user base.