Google starts merging group conversations in Hangouts and Google Chat

Google Hangouts on a OnePlus 6T
Google Hangouts on a OnePlus 6T (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is rolling out changes to smoothen the transition between Hangouts classic and Google Chat.
  • This week, it'll start showing group conversations started on Hangouts Classic in Chat alongside other improvements to group messaging in general.
  • Hangouts classic is expected to be sunsetted in 2021.

Google is continuing its merger of classic Hangouts with Google Chat with a slew of new updates coming on December 3rd.

These updates mostly revolve around group conversations, with the most significant of the changes being cross-compatibility with classic Hangouts. Google says that group conversations begun in Hangouts will now show up in Google Chat in the coming weeks.

The Google Workspace team explained:

[S]tarting in the first half of 2021, everyone can begin upgrading from Hangouts to Chat. To ensure a smooth transition, we will help automatically migrate your Hangouts conversations and saved history. These changes further ensure compatibility between classic Hangouts and Chat to make migrating your users as seamless as possible.

Google is also changing the way group conversations work. Just like in Slack, when someone is added to a new conversation users are able to see all messages that transpired before they were admitted to the group — Google will also notify everyone in the chat when someone new is added, again, just like Slack.

Aside from group conversations in Hangouts, Google will also work to enable cross-compatibility between Hangouts and Chat so users can retain context across the two services. This means that 1-1 messages, updated group conversations, and unthreaded messages (threaded messages were introduced in Chat a few weeks ago) are now going to appear in Hangouts Classic.

Google is rolling out all these features to Hangouts and Chat over the next few weeks. As with most updates to Google Workspace apps, the majority of users are expected to recieve it within two weeks.

Michael Allison