Switching from Classic Hangouts to Hangouts Chat

With the increase in businesses working from home, while still needing to communicate effectively with clients and customers, moving away from the classic Google Hangouts to the new Hangouts Chat has become a necessity.

The History

In 2013 Google released ‘Hangouts’ for instant messaging (IM) and video conferencing (VC). But in 2017 Google released ‘Hangouts Meet’, a stand-alone VC product developed by a team of VC specialists, with the aim of improving the service. They have replicated this strategy with IM and created another product called ‘Hangouts Chat’. So instead of one product that was ‘OK’ at IM and VC, they have created two separate products that are excellent in their own right.

Making the Move

When switching to Hangouts Chat your existing conversations will automatically be migrated, however group hangouts will need to be recreated into a new ‘Hangouts Chat Rooms’. The new Hangouts Chat Rooms also provides businesses with the option to enable external parties to be added to a ‘Room’. This brand new functionality offers employees a much smoother line of communication to clients and customers that are also using G Suite.


Whilst Hangouts Chat sits in a separate tab it also provides a more polished integration with Gmail, transforming your email window into an instant messaging platform. This gives users the option to use the chat in a seperate tab or within Gmail. Furthermore you can also add hangouts chat as a separate window, pinning it to your toolbar for easy access. Whether you use the chat within your gmail window, on its own tab or in a separate window, notifications can be configured globally within the settings feature of the app.

Top Tips

Before diving into the new Hangouts Chat we’ve put together some tips that might help your business make the transition:

  • You can add members to a Chat Room via group, which makes the membership dynamic.
  • People added to a Chat Room will be able to see all previous messages so keep this in mind when adding new clients, customers and colleagues.
  • Users can enable or disable the ability to add external parties.
  • Have a set Naming Strategy in place:
    • e.g. Function - Customer/Client/Project - External/Internal Chat:
    • (Sales - UK Clients - External).
  • Advise users to download the app on their mobile to allow constant access.

So many businesses are currently being forced to adapt to a new way of working. Switching to the new Hangouts Chat should provide users with the tools to maintain smooth levels of communication, and strong working relationships with colleagues, customers and clients. Please visit The G Suite Learning Centre to find out more information and gain a more in depth understanding of Hangouts Chat.

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