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Classic Hangouts losing phone calls and SMS; Chat for everyone next year

Today Google announced more details about the transition from classic Hangouts to the new Google Chat. Phone calling and Google Fi and Google Voice SMS will be going away early next year, and the migration to Google Chat will happen in the first half of 2021. 

Update April 1, 2021: Hangouts no longer supports phone calls, SMS or voicemail. You can export your classic Hangouts data until July 2021. Google Fi customers have until September 30 to transfer their SMS/MMS data from Hangouts to Messages

Here's what's happening: 

Migration from classic Hangouts to Google Chat for free accounts

For users with free personal Google accounts, the transition from Hangouts to Google Chat will happen in the first half of 2021.

All your 1:1 Hangouts conversations will be migrated, including your contacts and saved history. There will be more details when the transition begins.

Note that the final mandatory migration of Google Workspace customers from Hangouts to Chat is not scheduled to happen until "late 2021".

As with Google Meet, Chat will be available both as a standalone site (chat.google.com) and app, or available in Gmail as part of Google's integrated workspace.

Google Fi and Google Voice SMS and calls in Hangouts going away

Starting early next year, Google Fi and Google Voice support will be removed from Hangouts. 

Google Fi is Google's mobile calling service. Cross-platform calling and SMS using Hangouts was one of the early selling points. For Fi customers, Messages (messages.google.com) is getting an update in the next few weeks that will not only offer SMS across devices, but also voice calls and checking voicemail. Existing Hangouts SMS conversations can be migrated to Messages. 

Google Voice offers phone calls and texting, but requires you to bring your own internet connection. For Voice users, Google recommends using the Voice app for text messaging and phone calls. Voice is available on the web at voice.google.com.

Note that Google Fi and Google Voice for personal accounts are only available in the United States.  (If you want to try Google Fi, use my referral link and we both get $20 worth of service.)

Phone calls in Hangouts are going away

One of the coolest features in classic Hangouts is the ability to call almost any phone number in the United States or Canada for free. It also lets you call other countries at a reasonable rate. 

Sadly, early next year phone calling will also be removed in Hangouts. Google says this is due to new telecommunications regulations in the EU and US beginning in 20201.

If you have calling credits, Google will show an in-product notification with information on how to receive a refund. 

Improved group video calling

It's no secret that Google has been focusing on developing Google Meet video meetings for business and schools

In November, Google will "update the group video calling experience in Hangouts with Meet to provide better quality meetings."

There will be more information as these changes start to roll out.

Learn more 

Comments

  1. Will Google Voice go away or just Google Voice in Hangouts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just Google Voice in Hangouts. Google Voice has gotten a bunch of updates, including a new web interface and updated app.

      Delete
  2. This is horrible. I use the desktop hangouts all all the time for voice and text messages to my google voice account. Now my only solution is to go to a web page? I will miss so many messages and calls because of this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's going to be a tough changes for a lot of people. Google Voice does have an extensions (link) you might want to try.
      And send feedback to Google Voice (at voice.google.com) letting them know what features are important to you. Google does read feedback (especially if it's constructive) and it can influence product features.

      Delete

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