It looks like the long-awaited transition from Hangouts to Google Chat is just around the corner. Announced for the first half of 2021, Google is rolling out a preview that will allow consumers to try a sneak preview of Google’s new messaging client.
The transition from Hangouts to Google Chat (formerly Hangouts Chat) has been expected for more than two years, with Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) clients being the first to make the migration. Soon Google will have only two messaging clients: Google Messages and Google Chat.
The Google Chat preview
Currently, the Google Chat application is not available for normal Google accounts, but this will change soon. And it’s latest update hides in its source code references to “Consumer Beta”.
All indications are that over the next few weeks Google Chat could activate its preview to allow Hangouts users to migrate to Google Chat to try out the new messaging client. The Google Chat source code already has text strings reporting that “Google Chat introduces a new experience and features not found in Hangouts” or that “Because this is a preview of the new Chat, you may experience bugs and other issues.”
But that’s not all, the latest Gmail update also hides in its source code text strings informing that we will be able to test Google Chat in Gmail, so there would be no need to install Google Chat. Last summer Google Chat was integrated into Gmail, but only for Google Workspace accounts. Now it seems that this integration will also be available to everyone, as with the Google Meet integration.