What you need to know
- Google has started transitioning Hangouts users over to Google Chat.
- G Suite users with Chat enabled are now able to message external users on classic Hangouts.
- Google promises a full transition to Google Chat from Hangouts by late 2020.
Google is beginning to transition away from classic Hangouts to Google Chat fully. The first such changes are coming to current Google Chat users who will now be able to communicate with Hangouts users who are still on classic Hangouts.
Google explained on Tuesday:
Starting on May 26th, you'll be able to start conversations in Google Chat (previously known as "Hangouts Chat") with people outside of your domain. You'll be able to do this by either sending a direct message or adding them to rooms. Beginning today, conversations with external users in classic Hangouts will also appear in Chat as new messages are sent.
Despite this, Chat still isn't a consumer-friendly app like its video counterpart, Meet. Consumer classic Hangouts users will still need to use the old Hangouts app to communicate with Chat users, who'll need to have a G Suite subscription with the Chat service explicitly enabled.
Google will eventually open Chat up to everyone as it promised years ago, this is just the first step — albeit a delayed one — in that transition.