It seems that Google is showing a preview of support for its cross-platform messaging app Hangouts for a handful of users. Earlier, Google had announced that people who use Hangouts will be moved to a version of Google Chat which is available free of cost. According to Google, this will happen in the first couple of months of 2021. Google Chat is often stated as a competitor to Slack, an app that offers the kind of features and services that the Google-owned app does.
Ron Amadeo, a tech writer with the publication Ars Technica, was one of the first people to spot and write about a Hangouts ‘preview’ message. He stumbled upon this message when he opened Google Chat. Many users came across a similar prompt in the Chat application. When this transition was happening, Google had stated that it will make all the necessary arrangements to migrate its users from one messaging app to another. Google had also assured users that their saved history and contacts will remain safe during this process.
My Google Chat is now showing this Hangouts "Preview" message.
It looks like all my individual contacts work and are accessible via the search bar.
The only missing feature now is group chat. pic.twitter.com/Vf8mLahrbE
— Ron Amadeo (@RonAmadeo) February 24, 2021
There is, however, a major problem with this ‘Preview’. The group chats that were present on Hangouts are yet to be migrated. Users, though, have an option of creating a ‘Room’ in Chat and get their friends and contacts invited there. What is interesting is that the ‘Room’ created by the user is shown as a group chat in Hangouts.
Amedio has observed that there is no proper method of engaging in a 1-on-1 video call. According to him, Google Chat always expects the user to share a URL directing to a corporate video meeting in the chat. When some users tried to do a video call, it resulted in the recipient’s phone ringing.
At the moment, the Google Chat Preview for Hangouts is not accessible to all free users. Therefore, if you do not notice the prompt, do not feel surprised. As stated earlier, Google had informed its users that the transition will take place in the first half of 2021. So, while the process has started, it will take a while for it to reach its culmination.
Once Hangouts users get shifted or migrated to Google Chat, they will be able to do a lot of things that they were not able to do on the app they were using earlier on. Faster search results, sharing files promptly, emoji reactions – these are some of the things they would have access to on Google Chat.