This story was originally published and last updated .
While you'd think that the world's webcam supply chain would have caught up with demand from the many millions of folks working from home by now, you'd be wrong. Logitech is still sold out of every model it makes online, and questionable cheap webcams popping up here and there on Amazon probably aren't a wise investment. But you do have a professional webcam at home, you just may have forgotten about it: your smartphone. With a few simple gadgets, you make your phone into a pro videoconferencing rig in a snap, and be the envy of everyone at the virtual office.
In a blog post this morning, Google confirmed that Hangouts Meet is no longer a Hangouts product, and will simply be known as Google Meet. The post, which lays out Google Meet's extensive security and privacy credentials, makes no mention of the change, but refers to the product throughout as Google Meet. Similarly, the Meet support pages have almost all been updated with language calling the service Google Meet, where they previously said Hangouts Meet.
As the world stacks precaution after precaution on people's everyday lives to protect them from a potential novel coronavirus infection, Google has announced that it will be ready to accommodate the influx of from-home meetings that may need to be organized in the near future. To do that, it has extended enterprise features for Hangouts Meet to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers until July 1.
Yesterday it was revealed that Google was planning on merging several of its corporate-facing products into yet another messaging service to take on the likes of Slack, and today one of those pieces is getting updated with a new feature. Hangouts Meet just picked up the ability to use different sources for audio and video.
Google has so far had a love-hate relationship with messaging services, as it threw several of them against the wall, but only a few stuck, and that too not for long. But this didn’t deter the company from renewing its efforts to make another attempt, this time for businesses. A report by The Information suggests that Google could unify its existing communication services into a workplace-oriented app to stand against Slack and Microsoft Teams.
Google is delaying the shutdown of its longtime internet protocol chat and call app, Hangouts. G Suite users were originally told that Hangouts would be retired starting in October. Now, the deadline for G Suite customers to move has now been pushed back to "no sooner than June 2020."
In March 2017, Google announced that Hangouts would split into Meet and Chat apps, kicking off what has been a long, slow road to shutdown for the original version of the platform. Almost two years later, we now have an official timetable for the winding-down of the well-used service as Google attempts to wrestle a bigger share of the team communication market away from competitors like Slack. The timeline begins with the slow transition of G Suite users from classic Hangouts to Chat and Meet this year, followed by a consumer transition, which will likely begin late in 2020.
There has been a whirlwind of rumors around Google's messaging strategy over the past few days. First we heard that Hangouts might be shutting down, with a Google product lead refuting the claims, then a report came out that Allo is also shutting down. Google has now published a blog post to set the record straight, and it seems the rumors were mostly true.
Yesterday it was reported that Google was planning to sunset Hangouts sometime in 2020. However, according to Scott Johnston, director of product management and realtime comms product lead for G Suite (i.e., the guy who runs Hangouts at Google), that isn't the case. Johnston says there have been "no decisions made about when Hangouts will be shut down." Furthermore, we're told current Hangouts users will be upgraded to Hangouts Chat and Meet.