Google likes to support two nearly identical products at the same time. It̵
The creatively named chat service is Google’s answer to Slack and Microsoft teams. It’s an instant messaging client with collaboration tools and security enhancements not available in the stripped-down Hangouts client. Not much has changed since it was launched in 2013. Chat is currently a paid service for
G Suite Google Workspace customers, but it will be free for everyone in 2021.
Google Chat handles the Gmail integration. This is one of the great things about Hangouts. But if you’re using Hangouts with Google Fi, you’re a little confused! Hangouts support for Google Fi will end early next year, so you will no longer be able to make calls and send messages using the Google Messages app. Our friends at Google say news is coming to the browser soon. Maybe there is a silver lining here.
The chat is also missing in the integration of Google Voice. If you’re using Hangouts with Google Voice, you can use the dedicated Voice app. Other Hangouts features, like group video chats, will be retired in November and December.
Gosh, it really sounds like all of these apps are doing the same thing! Would you believe Hangouts wasn’t the first instant messenger to be killed by Google? We can only hope that Google will consolidate more of its duplicate services in the future.
Source: Google via The Verge