Hangouts has been inching slowly to its grave over the past year. In October, we saw that Google made plans to migrate regular users over to the new and improved ‘Google Chat’ in the ‘early half of 2021’. They even began forcing Hangouts video call groups to link to Chat instead of launching right in the app. According to a new APK Insight from 9to5Google, the Google Chat app shows code strings that would seem to suggest the company is opening up a ‘consumer beta’ soon for standard Google accounts that wish to take advantage of the “new” service.
<string name=”consumer_beta_disclaimer_dialog_title”>Welcome to Google Chat</string>
<string name=”consumer_beta_disclaimer_dialog_body”>”Google Chat introduces a new experience and features not found in Hangouts.
Because this is a preview of the new Chat, you might experience bugs and other issues.”</string>9to5Google
As you can see, version 2021.01.24 contains mention of a “consumer beta disclaimer” that invites regular folks to jump into a preview mode for the app. The idea here is likely to begin the migration slowly, addressing any bugs or obstacles that present themselves along the way. By the time the beta ends, Google probably hopes to have everyone comfortably out of the clutches of Hangouts and into the new Google Chat service.
If you do opt into the preview, you’ll notice that you not only have access to Google chat via its self-contained app on your device but also via Gmail on the web and mobile. Google Chat adds a ‘Rooms’, and ‘Chat’ tab to the bottom bar of the Gmail app and to the left hamburger menu of Gmail on the web.
Are you excited to finally rid yourself of Google Hangouts? Are you afraid that Google will axe Chat as well after a few years like they’ve done with almost all of their messaging services? Do you believe that it’s all about evolution and progress or do you think that it’s at the expense of the consumer? Let us know in the comments!