Today, you can try Google Chat by turning on the Chat service independently from the classic Hangouts service. Many customers are already using both Chat and classic Hangouts. You can also use a setting to migrate everyone to Chat and enable Chat in Gmail. In 2021, we'll start upgrading all classic Hangouts users to Chat.
The Chat upgrade has 5 phases. Subscribe to the Google Workspace Updates blog to get updates.
Phase 1 (complete): Vault consolidation
If you use Google Vault, all chat-related settings for classic Hangouts were migrated to Chat at the end of 2019. Mail holds and retention rules stopped protecting messages in classic Hangouts. All Chat and classic Hangouts messages are now protected by Chat holds and retention rules. Learn more
Phase 2 (complete): Early upgrade
During phase 2, Accelerated Transition Program customers were able to migrate all users to Chat with the “Chat Preferred” setting and preview several Chat features before they were generally available.
Phase 3 (complete): Anyone can upgrade—1st half of 2020
- The new "Chat Preferred" setting in the Admin console lets you migrate all users to Chat and enable the new Chat integration in Gmail.
- Chat and classic Hangouts settings have been simplified in the Admin console.
- Chat now supports messaging external users.
Phase 4 (in progress): Opt-out migration—Starting late Q2 2021
Organizations using the "Chat and classic Hangouts" service setting will be migrated to "Chat Preferred" by default, but administrators can opt-out of this migration. Organizations using the “Chat only” setting won't be impacted.
Note: We’ll notify customers in phases to prepare them for this change. We expect to start this phase for most organizations in Q3 2021.
Phase 5: Mandatory upgrade—late 2021
All remaining classic Hangouts customers will be migrated to "Chat Preferred," and we'll fully replace classic Hangouts with Chat.