Google Hangouts users are going to be migrated to a free version of Google Chat in 2021, the tech giant announced on Thursday. Google Chat is currently restricted only for paying Google Workspace users.
The new Chat app will be available for everyone in Gmail and also as a standalone app. In the first half of 2021, the migration will begin and data from hangouts such as conversations, contacts, saved history will be automatically moved to Google Chat.
Chat will retain some features from Hangouts like direct and group messaging, along with additional features such as send to inbox, faster search, emoji reactions, and suggested replies options.
“With Chat, you can more easily plan with others on goals and similar interests, share and collaborate on files, and assign tasks to help keep everyone on the same page,” Google said in a blog post.
In early next year, Google will remove Fi support from Hangouts and make messages it’s main platform for Fi. The users of Fi will be able to migrate their hangouts conversations, make voice calls and check voicemails through messages for web.
Voice support in Hangouts will also be removed in early 2021. Voice users have been able to get calls to their Google Voice number using Hangouts but starting this month, Google will direct Hangouts Voice users to the Voice app for text messaging and calling.