MESSAGING APPS CHURNER Google has announced the timeline for the closure of Hangouts, at least as we know it.
The original Hangouts (hereafter retconned to 'Hangouts Classic') will begin the long road to the glue factory in October. But don't panic, as most users won't notice to begin with.
From October, users who are working with G Suite will be made to migrate to the new Hangouts Chat (which is currently only available as a completely separate system) and Hangouts Meet (because one Messenger is never enough).
Between now and then, features from Hangouts will start to be added to Chat and Meet so that when administrators enable the switchover on their domains, it's as simple as possible.
From April, the mail retention rules for Hangouts will be changed to cover Chat as well - but that will require admins using Google Vault to tweak settings. At this time, admins can also opt to turn on Chat and turn off Classic, if they so wish.
Early adopters will see that there are still some holes in the Chat and Meet functionality to be added. Google has already identified Gmail Integration, external chat (ie on another domain), video calling enhancement, and Google Voice integration as major milestones to reach.
Once the October deadline is reached and Hangouts Classic is culled at the server end, we'll be given a better idea of when the free versions of Chat and Meet will be released.
From that point, we'll probably see a similar timeline as we have for the adoption of the new Gmail - first an optional preview, then a default change, and finally the culling of Hangouts Classic and the end of an era.
Admittedly not a particularly long era, as Hangouts was already a replacement for the XMPP based GTalk.
Nevertheless, with the culling of Allo (which nobody used) and G+ (see Allo) and the migration to (two, because one is never enough) stable services for everyone, we can see that Google is at least trying to untangle the mess they've got themselves into. μ
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