Google starts rolling out ‘Chat Preview’ for Hangouts users


RIP Hangouts, we hardly knew ye. The transition for users from Hangouts to Google Chat has seemed to start happening for some users, including Ars Technica‘s Ron Amadeo. Amadeo received a new “Hangouts Preview” message when using the app, which provides access to “a new experience and features not found in Hangouts”. It seems that there are all of the same features that you came to know and love in Hangouts, with the exception of group chats.

After confirming that Hangouts would be put to rest (like many other Google’s chat apps), the company confirmed that a new chat app would be on the way for everyone. But Google Chat initially started out as a messaging service for Google Workspace and G Suite users, featuring a new and clean interface, while maintaining many of Hangouts’ features.

Google has been pretty mum on when the transition from Hangouts to Google Chat would begin for personal account users, only stating that it would be coming in the “first half of 2021“. Well, it seems that despite not providing a hard release date, the rollout is beginning for some in a Preview capacity. Amadeo is only one of the first individuals to receive this new pop-up when accessing Hangouts, but it seems to be slowly rolling out to more and more users.

When the new Chat arrives for you, all of your conversations, contacts, and saved history will automatically be migrated over, but we’re still waiting to see when group chats will arrive. One odd addition to these Chat changes is that video calls will be completed completely within Google Chat and relies on Google Meet. You can send the video chat request, and a link to Google Meet will populate, instead of being immediately started. Perhaps this will change after Chat exits its ‘Preview’ state, but it’s rather disappointing to see for the time being.

Let us know if you’ve received the Google Chat Preview on your personal account, and how it compares to that of Google Hangouts.

Sources: 9to5Google via Ron Amadeo (Twitter)

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