Today, you can try Hangouts Chat by turning on the Hangouts Chat service independently from the classic Hangouts service. Many customers are already using both Hangouts Chat and classic Hangouts. By the end of 2019, we will transition all classic Hangouts users to Hangouts Chat.
The Hangouts Chat transition has 4 phases.
Phase 1: Set rules in Google Vault—January 2019 until April 16, 2019
If you use Google Vault, you need to create retention rules and holds for Hangouts Chat before April 16, 2019. During the migration period (phase 1 and 2), you need to create new holds in both mail and Hangouts Chat if you need to preserve chat messages. Learn more
Phase 2: Vault consolidation and early transition—April 16 2019 to 2nd half 2019
- Mail holds and retention rules stop protecting messages in classic Hangouts. All Chat and classic Hangouts messages will be protected by Hangouts Chat holds and retention rules.
- Hangouts Chat is turned on for all users in your organization who already have classic Hangouts enabled. This means all classic Hangouts users can also use Chat at chat.google.com or install the Chat mobile app or computer app.
- The everyday experience for classic Hangouts users won’t change. Users can continue using classic Hangouts to chat in Gmail, mobile, and the Chrome extension. Hangouts Chat won't be promoted during this time but all users can use it.
- Apply to join the Accelerated Transition Program if you want an early start on migrating your domain to Hangouts Chat.
Phase 3: Anyone can transition—2nd half 2019
- A new setting will let you turn off classic Hangouts in the Google Admin console.
- Hangouts Chat and classic Hangouts settings will be simplified in the Admin console.
- External chat and Gmail integration will launch to GA and improvements will be made to voice and video calling.
Phase 4: Everyone needs to transition—Late 2019 onward
- All remaining classic Hangouts G Suite users will be moved to Hangouts Chat and G Suite users won't be able to use the classic Hangouts user interfaces.
- No changes will be made to the consumer version of classic Hangouts. We are continuing to support consumers.