Transition from classic Hangouts to Chat: Deployment guide

Are you ready to transition your users from classic Hangouts to Hangouts Chat? If your organization has been selected to participate in the Accelerated Transition Program, follow these steps to create a successful experience for your users.

Step 1. Develop a plan

The most successful migrations start with a clear plan. Define your plan using these recommended steps, in the order listed. To start, schedule a migration date. Depending on the size of your organization, we recommend scheduling at least several weeks in advance. Give yourself plenty of time to communicate the upcoming changes to your users. When choosing a date, be aware it can take up to 24 hours for all changes to propagate to all your users.

Step 2. Prepare your support team or help desk

Prepare your internal support team or help desk for the upcoming migration date. They need to be ready to handle a higher volume of support tickets. Creating a room in Hangouts Chat dedicated to support-related questions can be helpful in the first few weeks.

Step 3. Review the list of known limitations

Before you migrate to Hangouts Chat, make sure you and your internal support teams review and understand the full list of known limitations. The full list is exhaustive and many of the items may not apply to you. Notable limitations include:

  • Phone calls and text messages using Google Voice are not currently available in Chat. Users can get these features by using Google Voice at voice.google.com, from the App Launcher, or by downloading the Google Voice mobile app (Android, iOS).
  • Some direct message history from classic Hangouts will appear in Chat, but group messages from classic Hangouts (including their history) won't be migrated to Chat. Users can still participate in these group conversations at hangouts.google.com and view the chat history through Gmail.
  • New group messages and rooms started in Hangouts Chat won't send messages to users who are still on classic Hangouts, and the other way around. Learn more
  • G Suite organizations that haven't turned on Chat yet won't be reachable through Chat. Users can only message external users that have Chat turned on in their organization. For these external chats, users can still use hangouts.google.com. The classic Hangouts bot will notify users in Hangouts Chat of any missed messages.
  • Chat rooms are limited to 8000 members.

Review the full list of known limitations.

Step 4. Turn on classic Hangouts and Hangouts Chat

In the Admin console, check your organizational units to make sure both classic Hangouts and Hangouts Chat are turned on. This step is important because it lets your users chat with the most external people and gives them new features, such as Hangouts Chat in Gmail.

  • Users with Chat turned off—Can't use any Chat service, such as Chat in Gmail, mobile apps, or standalone app (PWA).
  • Users with classic Hangouts turned off—Have these limitations:
    • Can't use hangouts.google.com.
    • Won't have direct message interoperability with external users. For example, an external user in classic Hangouts can't message someone in Chat.
    • Classic bot won't work.

If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with Hangouts Chat to learn how to best implement its features in your organization. Define admin settings, such as bot use.

Step 5. (optional) Test the migration experience

If you have a test domain, you can preview the migration experience in your test domain before the migration date. Using your test account, sign in to the Admin console. In Hangouts Chat, turn on the Chat Preferred setting, as shown in Step 9.

Step 6. Communicate to your users

Communicate the upcoming transition to your users when you confirm your migration date. Clearly outline any actions users should take before the migration, such as steps 7 and 8. You might want to share these items:

Establish a Q&A forum for user questions before and after the migration. To discuss the upcoming change, some of our customers have found it helpful to create a room in Chat.

Remind users again as the migration date approaches. Frequent communication with users is important.

Step 7. Install Hangouts Chat apps on all devices

To minimize the chance of missed notifications, before the migration date:

  • Mobile users should download the latest version of the Hangouts Chat app from Google Play or the App store. After downloading the Chat app, users should sign in to their G Suite accounts so they’re ready to switch on the migration date. Hangouts Chat requires Android 5.0 or later.
  • Chrome extension users should download and sign in to the new Hangouts Chat standalone app.

The classic Hangouts Chrome extension and mobile apps will be turned off on the scheduled migration date.

If applicable, install Chat on all devices using Google Mobile Management.

Step 8. Turn on video and voice services

  • Video calling—Hangouts Chat users can join ad-hoc meetings online through Hangouts Meet. Users who want to join meetings from their phones need to download the Hangouts Meet app to their mobile devices (Android, iOS) and sign in to their G Suite account. The Hangouts Meet app is also useful for joining scheduled calendar meetings. Turn on Meet in the Admin console for users in your organization .
  • Voice calling—Phone calls and text messages using Google Voice are not currently available in Hangouts Chat. Users can get these features by using Google Voice at voice.google.com, from the App Launcher, or by downloading the Google Voice app (Android, iOS) on their mobile phones. Turn on Google Voice in the Admin console for users in your organization.

Note: Hangouts Chat doesn't integrate with Google Fi. Google Fi users who chose classic Hangouts as their default text messaging app can still send and receive text messages from the classic Hangouts app on their Google Fi mobile device.

Step 9. Select "Chat preferred" on migration day

After you do steps 1 through 8, you’re ready to transition your organization to Hangouts Chat. In particular, make sure to do Step 4 before you do this step. On migration day:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenHangouts Chat.
  3. Click Chat Clients.
  4. Select Chat Preferred.

  5. Click Save.

It can take up to 24 hours for the changes to take effect, including turning off classic Hangouts apps and turning on new features. For more information, go to Choose a chat service for your organization.

How do I undo the migration if I change my mind?

Note: Undoing the migration to Hangouts Chat will likely be disruptive, so continue with caution after considering other options

To undo your organization's migration to Hangouts Chat:

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Appsand thenG Suiteand thenHangouts Chat.
  3. Click Chat Clients.
  4. Select Both classic Hangouts and Chat.
  5. Click Save.

If you change this setting multiple times within 24 hours, it can create an inconsistent user experience. Confirm the new setting applies to all users before you change the setting again.

Your users need to do the following to get the changes:

  • Gmail—Classic Hangouts replaces Hangouts Chat in Gmail. Users will need to reload Gmail to get the change.
  • Android and iOS—Users need to sign in to their classic Hangouts mobile app using their G Suite account.
  • Extension—Users need to restart the classic Hangouts extension by going to chrome://extensions/ and turning the extension off and on.

Step 10. Send feedback

For bugs and issues, contact G Suite support. Our Support team is trained to specifically identify reports related to migration.

End users can submit feedback through in-app surveys. If you previously agreed to participate in user research studies about the migration, we may also contact you to get your input.

If applicable, you can also contact your Google Technical Account Manager.

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