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 late 2020, we will start transitioning all classic Hangouts users to Hangouts Chat.
The Hangouts Chat transition has 4 phases.
Phase 1: Set rules in Google Vault—Now until late 2019
If you use Google Vault, you need to create retention rules and holds for Hangouts Chat before the end of 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—Late 2019 to 1st half of 2020
- 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.
- 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—1st half of 2020
- 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 2020
- 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.