The transition from Hangouts to Google Chat was always going to be long and arduous, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The latest step for G Suite admins is now available, allowing them to set Chat as the preferred messaging service for their organization. This will finally make Chat the default and only messaging app within Gmail and move users away from the Hangouts apps they've become accustomed to.
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.
Google's messaging strategy continues to perplex us all, but perhaps there's some light at the end of the tunnel? Everyone working on communication tools at Google was recently brought into a single unified team, which will hopefully lead to more consolidated efforts in the future (we can but hope). And another step on the road to finally doing away with the old Hangouts has been announced. G Suite users are now able to see their classic Hangouts conversations in Google Chat so everything is in one place.
Google's strategy around messaging and communication applications is in a constant state of flux, an issue that has only been made worse by the isolated teams working on Duo, Hangouts Chat/Meet, and other products. While the numerous messaging applications might not be going away anytime soon, the teams behind them are finally operating under one roof.
The artist formerly known as Hangouts Meet has seen a number of welcome improvements in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but until now only G Suite users have been able to use it free of charge. Google has just announced in a blog post that this restriction is being lifted, however, and anyone with a Gmail account will be able to use Google Meet for absolutely nothing.
Google announced last year that the Hangouts service we know and love would be winding down, but two new business-oriented tools took its name — Hangouts Meet (video conferencing) and Hangouts Chat (room-based messaging). However, Hangouts Meet officially became Google Meet earlier this week, and now the Chat application will receive the same treatment.
With GSuite, Google wants to take on competitors like Microsoft by offering a fully integrated collaboration ecosystem. Back in 2017, the company announced Hangouts Chat, its messaging solution for teams that is meant to compete directly with Slack. The service has been fully functional since early 2018, and just gained a new feature that lets you forward chats to your mailbox.
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.
Reports have started to flood in that several Google services, including Gmail, Nest, YouTube, Drive, and even Search, are down for many. Outages appear to be mostly affecting the eastern US, though not everyone is affected.
We've known for a long time that Google Hangouts was destined to shut down, but most of us couldn't have predicted individual features would be slowly picked from its not-quite-dead body. That seems to be the case with the location sharing function formerly found in Hangouts. As of v32, the convenient messaging feature has been quietly removed.