• Google rebranded two Hangouts apps that handle video conferencing and instant messaging. They’ll be known as Google Meet and Google Chat going forward.
  • However, the Hangouts brand won’t disappear, as the consumer version of Hangouts will stay in place.
  • G Suite users, meanwhile, will be able to enjoy premium Meet features until September 30th.
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iMessage and FaceTime. These two default iPhone apps are some of Apple’s best mobile apps to date. The former is really what will keep you glued to your iPhone for years, even if Android might look exciting. They’re also a reminder of Google’s spectacular failure to replicate them. For years, Google tried to come up with an iMessage rival and kept launching chat app after chat app to get it done. It did the same thing with video chat apps, confusing users in the process. If you think you’ve finally got everything figured out, between Hangouts, RCS, and Duo, then you’re wrong. Prepare to get used to Google Meet and Google Chat. They’re not new Goole apps, they’re just replacing Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. The new Google Chat is not to be confused with the existing Google Chat that might handle RCS texting on your Android phone. Also, Hangouts isn’t just going to go away. You’ll still need it.

The changes couldn’t have come at a better time. Given the global coronavirus health crisis, more people are working and studying from home than ever, and they rely on instant messaging and video chat apps. With Zoom being out of the question, Google’s apps will certainly get more traction during this period. The more people use them, the easier it will be for everyone to adapt to the name changes. Hangouts is gone forever from G Suite, get used to Meet and Chat.

At the same time, the whole transition could confuse plenty of people. That’s because the Hangouts branding isn’t going away. Only enterprise G Suite users will notice the Hangouts Chat rebrand to Google Chat. The same thing happened to Hangouts Meet earlier this week when it was transformed into Google Meet.

“There will be no changes to the consumer (classic) version of Hangouts,” a Google spokesperson told The Verge.

What this means is that you might have to use Meet and Chat for work and school, but then you’ll do Hangouts with your family and friends during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Yes, it’s all very confusing.

The good news for Google Meet users is that the premium features of the video chat app will be available for free to all G Suite customers through September 30th. Google announced the deadline extension on Thursday. The premium features were supposed to be available free of charge until July 1st.

Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.