Google Hangouts won't disappear for consumers despite enterprise focus

Despite the existence of Allo and Duo, Google won't cut consumers off

While Google Hangouts is making a shift to serve enterprise users, it won’t be vanishing for consumers.

Last week, the company announced that it would be splitting the chat and videoconferencing service into Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, which raised questions about what would happen for those people who still use it in their personal lives.

Consumers will still be able to access Hangouts using their personal Google accounts. Hangouts will still appear in the Gmail sidebar on the desktop, even after it splits into Chat and Meet, according to Scott Johnston, director of product management for Hangouts.

Right now, the chat service is in a closed beta program for Google’s enterprise customers, but once it becomes generally available, consumers and enterprise users will be prompted to upgrade.

When Google releases it to general availability, the company will upgrade Hangouts, both in G Suite and in the current Hangouts apps, to Meet and Chat, he said during a press briefing at the company’s Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco last week.

In other words, the company isn’t going to cut consumers off from a product that they’re still using to communicate with one another. Consumers will be able to start video and audio meetings using Hangouts Meet, plus have group chat conversations using Chat.

Consumers who prefer the classic Hangouts will be able to hang onto it for awhile after the new Chat service becomes generally available. Google plans to operate Meet, Chat, and classic Hangouts all at the same time during a transition period, while allowing users to choose to upgrade at their leisure. At some point, consumers will be moved over to Chat and Meet.

That said, Google isn’t exactly encouraging people to keep using Hangouts for consumer messaging. Last year, the company introduced Allo, a new mobile-first messaging app that includes access to the Google Assistant and other features that haven’t been added to Hangouts.

By contrast, Google will focus on giving Hangouts users features that are focused on serving the needs of businesses, like team chats and integrations with work software like Asana, Box, Smartsheet, and Zendesk. Both products will have enterprise-specific features.

It’s unclear what exactly that means for Hangouts’ chances as a consumer product in the long run. Right now, there’s not an easy migration path from Hangouts to Allo, since one requires users log in with mobile phone numbers, and the other requires Google account log-ins.

Allo also isn’t available outside of Android and iOS yet, though Google is working on a desktop experience. Google also has a handful of other messaging apps, too. But at least for now, Allo and Hangouts will continue their coexistence.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Google G SuiteGoogle

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?