Following its announcement in 2017, Google has confirmed that classical Hangout would be replaced with Hangout Chat and Hangout meet. This was made know, Tuesday, January 22 in its blog post.

Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet is the next generation of Hangouts and would focus on team communication. This transition would be coming on later this year, with the first step of changes coming on Thursday, April 16, 2019, and several changes that may require administrator action such as, chat becoming available to users on the web and via mobile apps.

Also, between April and September 2019, features from classic Hangouts will come to Chat while in October 2019, it will start retiring classic Hangouts for G Suite customers.

Also beginning from Thursday, April 16, mail retention rules and holds will stop protecting chat messages in classic Hangouts for Google Vault customers. Instead, Chat retention rules and holds will protect chat messages in both classic Hangouts and Chat.

Chat admin settings will now control chat capability in both classic Hangouts and Chat, a new setting in the Admin console under Apps > G Suite > Hangouts Chat will be added so users can disable classic Hangouts user interfaces at any time and  “Google Hangouts” settings page in the Admin console will be renamed “Hangouts Meet.” Google Vault customers need to take action before April 16, 2019

Between March 16 and April 16, 2019, Vault customers that have any Mail retention rules or holds will have an indefinite retention rule automatically created for Chat. This rule is to protect all user’s chat messages in classic Hangouts when Chat rules start protecting them on Thursday, April 16, 2019.

What users must do before Thursday, April 16 2019?

  • Review and set new retention rules for Chat in Google Vault.
  • Duplicate any existing Mail holds for Chat in Google Vault.
  • Set any new holds on chat messages from Chat in Google Vault.
  • Once you have set your preferred retention rules and holds for Chat, in order for them to take effect, remove the indefinite retention rule that may be overriding your rules.

If users do all these by Thursday, April 16, 2019, all their chat messages in classic Hangouts and direct messages in Chat will be retained indefinitely. Also, note that in October 2019, Classic Hangouts will be retired for all G Suite customers and all remaining users will be transitioned to Chat.