Google has recently announced that Hangouts will be replaced by Google Chats in 2021 while sharing the new updates and changes in both the apps on October 15. Google Chat will be made available as a free service for all users in the upcoming year along with the rest of the apps in Google Workspace. It will also include features similar to Google Hangouts.
"This month, we unveiled Google Workspace, which includes everything you need—Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Chat, Meet and more—to get anything done, now in one place. Google Workspace is generally available to all our business customers and next year we’ll bring it to everyone else, too," read the official press release.
Google Chats is a part of Google Workspace which is currently available only to the business customers of Google. According to the Google Blog, from the beginning of 2021, this service will be free for all users allowing them to upgrade from Google Hangouts to Google Chat. All the chats, contacts, and saved history of Hangouts will be automatically migrated to Chat. This includes all the Google Hangouts users who use the app along with Google Fi and Google Voice.
Speaking the security features of the app, Google said, "Next year, Chat will become available as a free service—both in the integrated experience in Gmail and the Chat standalone app. Chat features the same strong phishing protections we built in Gmail, so if a link is sent to you via Chat, it will be checked against real-time data from Safe Browsing and flagged if it’s found to be malicious."
The Google Fi support in Hangouts will be removed in early 2021. The call phone feature and voice support will also be removed from the app and the Google Hangouts Voice users will be directed to Google Voice. Google also informed the Fi users that in the coming weeks, Messages by Google will allow them to manage their SMS and phone calls similar to what Hangout does. Similarly, Google Meet will replace the group video calling feature of Hangouts.