Choose a chat service for your organization

This article is intended for Google Workspace administrators. If you're looking for user help, visit Get started with Google Chat or Get started with classic Hangouts.

As an administrator, you can choose which chat services are available in your organization. The Service Status page lets you control both Google Chat and classic Hangouts availability from the same location. Learn more.

If your organization has been using classic Hangouts and you're ready to migrate everyone to Google Chat, you can select the Chat preferred setting as described below to help with the transition. Before you turn on Chat preferred, we strongly recommend that you review the full Deployment Guide

Turn on your chat preference

Before you begin: To turn a service on or off for certain users, put their accounts in an organizational unit (to control access by department) or add them to an access group (to allow access for users across or within departments).

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using an account with super administrator privileges (does not end in

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenGoogle Workspaceand thenGoogle Chat and classic Hangouts.
  3. Click Service Status.
  4. To apply the setting to everyone, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit or a configuration group.

    Note: When you change settings for a configuration group, you can only turn Chat on or off. Use an organizational unit if you want to choose the Chat preferred option.
  5. Select how you want to use Chat and classic Hangouts in your organization:
    • Chat preferred (default for new customers, and recommended for migration)—Chat works in Gmail and everywhere else. Classic Hangouts works on the web.
    • Chat and classic Hangouts—Classic Hangouts is included in Gmail and work everywhere. Chat works everywhere except in Gmail.
    • Chat only—Chat works in Gmail and everywhere else. Classic Hangouts clients are turned off.
    • Classic Hangouts only—Classic Hangouts works in Gmail and everywhere else. Chat clients are turned off.
    • Both turned off—All Chat and classic Hangouts clients are turned off.

    You might not see all options:

    • The "Chat and classic Hangouts" option is available only if you opted out of the automatic upgrade to Google Chat before September 8, 2021.
    • The "Classic Hangouts only" option is available only to people who were actively using that option in late September, 2021.
    • If your space history option is ALWAYS ON or ALWAYS OFF, you won't see "Chat preferred," "Chat and classic Hangouts," or "Classic Hangouts only." (You can't force space history to be on or off if you use classic Hangouts.)
    Do not choose "Chat only" at the top organizational unit if you have any users who still need to use classic Hangouts. Choosing "Chat only" at the top disables classic Hangouts functionality and interoperability between classic Hangouts and Google Chat for all your users, even if you select a different service option for a child organizational unit.
  6. Click Save.

It can take up to 24 hours for the changes to take effect, including turning on new features.

Learn more about turning chat services on and off.

Choosing between Chat preferred and Chat only

While both the Chat preferred and Chat only service status settings include Google Chat in Gmail, there are important distinctions between the two options:

  • Choosing "Chat preferred" provides the best migration experience if your goal is to upgrade users from classic Hangouts to Google Chat. This status ensures that your users can talk to people outside your domain who still use classic Hangouts.

    Because of the way Chat and classic Hangouts interoperate, if you choose “Chat preferred,” your chat history preference can override your default space history in certain situations. Learn more
  • Choosing "Chat only" turns off the classic Hangouts service. Affected users won't be able to talk to classic Hangouts users, and won't see messages directing them to use Google Chat. Messages sent from Chat won't be shown in classic Hangouts, and re-enabling classic Hangouts later won't bring those messages back or restore interoperation between Chat and classic Hangouts for those conversations.

    Choosing “Chat only” allows you to have separate forced chat history options for direct messages and unthreaded spaces. The chat history setting will never override the space history setting. Learn more

Related topics

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?

Need more help?

Sign in for additional support options to quickly solve your issue

Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu
Search Help Center