Google has announced that it began to transition all G Suite users from the Hangouts video chat solution to the Hangouts Meet service for enterprise application. The migration started on May 29 and it is expected to conclude sometime in June. Once the transition is complete, all the new Calendar invites created by G Suite users will be automatically connected to the Hangouts Meet video meeting, though old meetings will still use the old Hangouts regardless of this change. Users will also still be able to join video calls in the classic Hangouts version even if Hangouts Meet has been enabled on their domain.
Hangouts Meet was officially launched in March of last year, along with Hangouts Chat, as an enterprise version of Google's video chat service. More to the point, Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat are the products of Google's move to split Hangouts into two group communications tools. For the uninitiated, Hangouts Meet is focused more on enterprise video conferencing, allowing people to participate in a video call on a variety of platforms such as mobile devices or laptop computers through a link which can be shared via email or through Calendar events. Hangouts Meet then works to extract information related to a meeting from Calendar. For users who still want to stick to the original Hangouts version since some classic features are not yet available on Hangouts Meet, Google stresses that they can opt out of the transition by turning off the “New meeting experience" option in the Meet Settings under Apps > G Suite > Google Hangouts. Hangouts Meet is also compatible with Firefox version 60 without the need for an application download or plugin installation as the tool uses built-in WebRTC protocols.
While the Hangouts Meet transition for all G Suite users is still optional, Google says that the solution is expected to achieve full parity with the original Hangouts during the second half of this year. That means Hangouts Meet will then add support for Internet Explorer and Safari browsers. By that time, Google says that it will automatically turn on Hangouts Meet for all users and domains, with no chance of opting out of the migration. Hangouts Meet also started taking over for G Suite Video Meetings last month.