Upcoming Hangouts service consolidation for all G Suite customers

What’s changing

As we announced in 2017, Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are the next generation of Hangouts that focus on team communication. Later this year, we'll transition classic Hangouts users on G Suite domains to Chat and Meet. As a first step, some changes are coming on April 16, 2019.

Key dates to note

G Suite customers can expect the following timeline of changes:
  • April 16, 2019 – Several changes that may require administrator action (see below for details).
  • Between April and September 2019 – Features from classic Hangouts will come to Chat.
  • October 2019 – Start retiring classic Hangouts for G Suite customers.

Consumer impact
The above dates are specific to G Suite customers and their end users who use classic Hangouts. We will continue to support consumer use of classic Hangouts, and expect to transition consumers to free Chat and Meet following the transition of G Suite customers. A more specific timeline will be communicated at a later date.

What changes will take place on April 16, 2019?
For G Suite domains that have classic Hangouts enabled, Chat will also become available to users on the web and via mobile apps. They can also continue using classic Hangouts in Gmail, mobile, web or the Chrome extension. See these details for how interoperability works between Chat and classic Hangouts.

The following admin-facing changes will begin taking place on April 16, 2019:
  1. For Google Vault customers, Mail retention rules and holds will stop protecting chat messages in classic Hangouts. Instead, Chat retention rules and holds will protect chat messages in both classic Hangouts and Chat.
  2. Chat admin settings will now control chat capability in both classic Hangouts and Chat.
  3. A new setting in the Admin console under Apps > G Suite > Hangouts Chat will be added so you can disable classic Hangouts user interfaces at a time of your choosing.
  4. The "Google Hangouts" settings page in the Admin console will be renamed "Hangouts Meet." This setting will control both classic Hangouts video and Hangouts Meet.

Google Vault customers need to take action before April 16, 2019
Between March 16 and April 16, 2019, Vault customers that have any Mail retention rules or holds will have an indefinite retention rule automatically created for Chat. This rule is to protect all your chat messages in classic Hangouts when Chat rules start protecting them on April 16, 2019. Before April 16, 2019, you must:

  • Review and set new retention rules for Chat in Google Vault.
  • Duplicate any existing Mail holds for Chat in Google Vault.
  • Set any new holds on chat messages from Chat in Google Vault.
  • Once you have set your preferred retention rules and holds for Chat, in order for them to take effect, remove the indefinite retention rule that may be overriding your rules.

If you don’t take set your preferred retention rules or holds in Chat and then remove the indefinite retention rule by April 16, 2019, all your chat messages in classic Hangouts and direct messages in Chat will be retained indefinitely. Refer to this Help Center article to learn more about completing these actions.

What will happen in October 2019?
Classic Hangouts will be retired for all G Suite customers starting in October 2019 and all remaining users will be transitioned to Chat. More notices and details will be shared on the G Suite Updates blog in the future. In order to make the transition easier for your users, you can review our Chat documentation.

What is the best time to move my users to Hangouts Chat?
You can transition your users immediately if you’d like. If there’s more functionality that your organization needs before switching, rest assured that between April and September 2019, we’ll add features that will make it easier for your users to move from classic Hangouts to Chat such as:

  • Integration with Gmail
  • Chatting with external users
  • An improved video calling experience
  • Making calls with Google Voice

We will communicate availability of these new features via the G Suite Updates blog so stay tuned!

Helpful links

Stay up to date with G Suite launches