Google has delayed the plans to remove texting and calling features from classic Hangouts for Fi users until March 2021. The company had, in October last year, said that Google Fi subscribers will not be able to use Hangouts for messaging, voice calls, and voicemail services from January this year, January 19th, to be precise.
However, it has now pushed the deadline to March, giving the MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) subscribers more time to switch to Messages. There's no exact date mentioned on the newly updated official support page though.
Of course, you will automatically receive new text messages on your phone's default SMS app if you don't migrate to Messages. But if you make the switch by March 2021, you will be able to seamlessly transfer your Hangouts conversations.
You can still retrieve your conversations from Hangouts and transfer them to Messages until September 30, 2021, though. Note that transferring your messaging data to Messages does not delete your data from Hangouts. Your data will still be available for download.
Google delays classic Hangouts shutdown for Fi users
Google has been long working to phase out classic Hangouts completely and replace it with Chat and Meet. The company announced the plans back in January 2019. It said it is "fully committed" to supporting classic Hangouts users until it completes a successful migration to those two apps.
It has since been moving enterprise users to the new services. The company has also been stripping classic Hangouts off its features, taking one step at a time. In October last year, Google started detailing how it plans to move Hangouts users to a free version of Chat.
During the announcement, the company said that Fi users have already begun moving away from Hangouts to the native dialer and texting app. It added support for Fi voice calls, text messages, and voice mails to Messages for web to further drive the migration.
This ability to transfer existing SMS/MMS history to the web replicates the multi-device aspects of classic Hangouts. Google touts this as the "recommended solution" for Fi users as it offers a "similar experience to Hangouts". However, this solution essentially only lets you access the MVNO service on your PC. It lacks RCS chat features such as read receipts.
Nonetheless, Google is planning to fully replace Hangouts with Chat by the end of this year. It now remains to be seen if there will be any more delays and deadline extensions.