Back in March 2017 Google announced that its cross-platform messaging service Hangouts would be split into two separate apps. Hangouts Chat would provide teams with a messaging service similar to Slack and Hangouts Meet would be a videoconferencing application along the lines of Microsoft Skype.
Now the company has provided users with a timeline for when classic Hangouts will be phased out and the new apps will become available to enterprise G Suite users and consumers.
Beginning on April 16th, G Suite domains that have classic Hangouts enabled will receive access to Chat on the web. Between April and September of this year, several Hangouts features will come to Chat before Hangouts is officially shutdown in October.
At the same time, Mail holds and retention will no longer protect messages in classic hangouts and instead Hangouts Chat holds and retention will begin protecting chat messages in both classic Hangouts and Hangouts Chat. New settings that control chat features in Hangouts and Chat will be available for Admins who will even be able to disable Hangouts user interface at any time from the Admin console.
End of classic Hangouts
According to Google, Chat will integrate with Gmail and gain the ability to exchange messages with external users between April and September. Chat will also receive an “improved video calling experience” along with voice calls powered by Google Voice.
Once the G Suite transition is complete, non-enterprise users will gain access to a free version of Chat and Meet. Google did not provide any information on the free tiers of both programs yet but according to an interview with The Verge last year, Chat and Meet will adopt a “freemium” model with additional features available to users that pay a subscription.
Additionally Google rolled out two new features in the Admin console in the form of the Meet quality tool which provides access to meeting information in domains and Hangouts Meet activity logs that show high-level and detailed views on how the app is used.
While Google offers many products to users for free, the company does not hesitate to launch and then later remove products or features that it feels are no longer worth supporting.
Via Venture Beat