Google Hangouts Classic is going to be going away. This is something that we all already know.
But today, Google decided to throw a lifeline to G Suite users. Who would have had to say goodbye to Hangouts Classic before the end of 2019. It has now been extended until 2020. So G Suite users can continue to use Hangouts Classic, or transition over to Hangouts Chat if they wish to do so.
Instead of October 2019, June 2020 is now the date
According to the announcement from this morning, G Suite users are able to use Hangouts Classic until around June 2020.
Google stated that any sort of final transition date would be "no sooner than June 2020". So it's also possible that it could continue past that date. That's about eight months later than Google had initially planned to push G Suite users off of Hangouts Classic.
The company is also still working on Hangouts Chat and working to improve it. It's still missing a number of features right now, so it's really not a great replacement for Hangouts Classic. But for many, it will get the job done. It doesn't have things like read receipts right now, so hopefully that's something Google will add in the near future.
You can of course make the transition over to Hangouts Chat sooner, if you wish to do so. There is the Accelerated Transition Program available, that if you can get in, you will be able to use Hangouts Chat sooner.
Most people won't be able to get in though, it seems to be a very limited program right now.
However, starting in the first half of 2020, anyone will be able to transition over to Hangouts Chat.
Google leaves us with more questions than answers
As expected, there's still a lot of things missing from Hangouts Chat, and a lot of questions still remaining about the transition from Hangouts Classic to Chat. Not to mention questions about what the heck Google is doing when it comes to its messaging solution.
Hopefully, this extension for Hangouts Chat will allow Google to figure things out, particularly when it comes to transitioning. For one, will users be able to bring their existing Hangouts Classic chats over to Hangouts Chat? Will they still be able to talk to those on Hangouts Classic while they are on Chat, during the transition phase?
There's lots of questions that still remain.
Hangouts isn't slated to go away completely until the end of 2020. And it is possible that it could also push that back a bit further.