Google is changing its strategy on messaging apps once again. The company is preparing to make its application called Chat, similar to Slack, free for all users in 2021. Google will also direct Hangouts users to use Chat in this process.
Google’s ever-changing messaging strategy can lead to confusion. Therefore, at this point, it is useful to remind the Chat platform once again. Chat application is a chat tool offered within Google’s corporate offerings. Chat, which has features similar to the original Hangouts experience, has extra features such as reactions and response suggestions.
Chat will be available to all Gmail users, not just companies using Google Workspace, from next year.
The statement made by Google on the subject includes the following statements: “Chat will be a free service next year. It will offer an integrated experience in both Gmail and standalone Chat application. The upgrade process for users will begin in the first half of 2021. The conversation history in Hangouts will also be moved to Chat to ease the transition process. ”
The update will bring some changes that will affect those who currently use Hangouts outside of Gmail. Google previously allowed Google Fi subscribers to manage their phone calls and messages on Hangouts. However, these users will now be redirected to the Messages app. In addition, Google Voice subscribers making phone calls from Hangouts will be transferred to the phone app. Google plans to completely remove Voice support from Hangouts in 2021.
Google did not provide information on what these changes mean for those using the individual consumer version of the Hangouts app. But it’s no secret that the company has gradually phased out the Hangouts brand for a while. Therefore, it should not be surprising that Google directs its users to new services.