For over two years now, we’ve known that Google was planning to kill their classic Hangouts app in favor of opening Google Chat to those without Google Workspace. With the transfer due in the first half of 2021, Google Chat is preparing a beta test to open the app for Hangouts users to preview.
About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we have decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we can see different lines of code that suggest possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not post these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We will try to activate those that are closer to completion, but to show you what they will look like in case they send. With that in mind, read on.
Google Chat “Consumer Beta”
In October, Google shared a rough timeline for the transition from Hangouts to Google Chat, saying that migration would take place in the “first half of 2021.” More specifically, this transfer will take your call history, contacts, and more from the Hangouts app to Google Chat.
Currently, if you open the Google Chat app on a non-workspace account – any Google account ending with @gmail.com or @googlemail.com – it simply tells you that you do not have access to Chat, give or take any exceptions such as being invited to an existing workspace.
Google Chat received an update earlier this month to version 2021.01.24, in which we find that Google appears to be preparing an early beta preview time for the average person using Hangouts to switch to the Chat app.
Welcome to Google Chat
“Google Chat introduces a new experience and features not found in Hangouts.
Because this is a preview of the new chat, you may experience errors and other issues. ”
In fact, even if you do not install the entire Google Chat app, you still have the opportunity to test the newer experience. A similar “2021.01.24” update to Gmail includes several things about how this Google Chat preview period will work for Hangouts fans.
Try Google Chat in Gmail
Switching to Google Chat Preview lets you try out the new experience and features.
Because this is a preview, you may experience errors and other issues.
You can switch back to the old chat setting at any time. ”
During the preview period, you should be able to switch back and forth between classic Hangouts and Google Chat, including the addition of Google Chat integration directly in the Gmail app. This should take the form of “Chat” and “Rooms” tabs that join the current mix of “Mail” and “Meet” tabs in Gmail, as first shown last year.
From the way Google repeatedly describes it, this period of beta preview is meant to help ensure that when Hangouts classic finally shuts down, Chat is ready to take on the mantle of Google’s primary messaging app. When full migration occurs later this year, all kinks will hopefully have been prepared for a seamless transition.
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