The history of Google’s messaging and communication apps has always been a bit turbulent, made up of numerous solutions sometimes with overlapping functions and different changes of course: the overall panorama of the Mountain View ecosystem is now
Next year, Google explained, Chat will be available as a free service, both in the integrated experience in Gmail and in the standalone Chat app. Chat includes familiar features of Hangouts such as direct and group messaging, with useful additions such as sending to the inbox, faster search and suggested answers.
With Chat users can plan more easily with other people goals and similar interests, share and collaborate on files and assign tasks to help keep everyone synchronized about what is to be done. In addition, Chat is equipped with the same strong phishing protections that Google has entered in Gmail, so if a link is sent via Chat, it will be checked with the real-time data of Safe Browsing and reported, if it turns out
Google also announced that, starting from the first half of 2021, everyone will be able to start upgrading from Hangouts to Chat. To ensure a smooth transition, Google will help you automatically migrate Hangouts conversations, along with your saved contacts and history. Google will publish a more specific guide on the steps users can take when the transition process begins.
There will also be changes in relation to other Google services, such as Fi and Voice. At the beginning of next year Google will remove Fi support in Hangouts. Fi users are historically able to manage SMS and phone calls from Hangouts. In the coming weeks, Google Messages will provide a similar experience. Fi users will be able to make voice calls and check the voicemail from Messages for the web, manage conversations from Messages through devices and migrate existing Hangouts conversations. Starting this month Google will provide a guide on these changes and will redirect Hangouts Fi users to Messages or the default SMS application on your smartphone.
Similarly, Voice users are traditionally able to receive calls to their Google Voice number using Hangouts. Starting this month, again in this case Google will address Hangouts Voice users to the Voice app for messaging and calling, for the future, and at the beginning of next year will remove Voice support in Hangouts
In addition, Google continues, new telecoms rules will be introduced in the EU and the United States from 2021 onwards. To comply with these new regulations Google will have to remove the function of phone calls in Hangouts. This same month Google will start showing interested users a notification with a guide on how to receive refunds for their credits for the remaining calls and at the beginning of next year the company will completely remove the feature.
Separately, in November, Google will update the group video call experience in Hangouts with Meet, to provide better quality meetings.
As for business users, Google introduced the setting Google has also made the preferred Chat option configurable at the level of organizational units. In the coming months, the Mountain View company will send notifications to Google Workspace administrators to detail the final stages of migration.
It is Google itself that also emphasizes that, as with any project, timing could change and however users will receive all information in a complete and timely manner.