In 2018, Google had confirmed that it is looking forward to replacing Hangouts with Chat and Meet. Now it has officially announced that Hangouts will be shutting down by 2021. Google Chat, a slack and discord competitor, only available to enterprise users, will be made free for all the users and replace Hangouts.
However, the users still using Hangouts will be upgraded to Google Chat, so their Chat and history will not get deleted. Last week, Google rebranded its G Suite as “Google Workspace” with a change in few icons. The same was available to enterprise consumers earlier but now has been made available to all the users. However, the integrated offer already includes Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Meet, etc. with Chat adding up in 2021. Like hangouts, the free version of Google Chat will be available inside Gmail as a standalone application. Chat will include similar features of Hangouts, like direct and group messaging, with helpful additions like send to inbox, faster search, emoji reactions, and suggested replies.
Google Chat will act as a free alternative to Slack and Discord. It will provide access to rooms along with groups aimed for collaboration with a large group of members as a team. With Chat, you can plan with others on goals and similar interests more efficiently, share and collaborate on files, and assign tasks to keep everyone on the same page. The migration from classic Hangouts to a free Chat will start in the first half of 2021, with users easily able to move conversations, history, and contacts.