Google today announced that starting now, it is moving all of its G Suite users who follow its recommended schedule from its Hangouts video chat service to Hangouts Meet, the more enterprise-ready version of Hangouts. The move will likely take about a month or so.
This means all newly created Calendar invites will now link to Meet video meetings, though Google stresses that all previously created meetings won’t be affected by this.
For the time being, admins can still opt out of this transition and some may want to do so, simply because Meet doesn’t support Internet Explorer and Safari right now, for example (support for Firefox launched last week). But starting in the second half of 2018, Google expects that Meet will have full parity with Hangouts, including support for these browsers, and, at that time, Meet will become the default for these stragglers, too.
Google’s overall messaging strategy remains as confusing as always. The original plan was to position Allo and Duo as its consumer text and video chat apps while Meet and the more Slack-like Hangouts Chat played to its enterprise users.
Allo was a total failure, however, and its preferred messaging app now seems to be Chat, which will offer support for the new RCS standard and give Android users a more iMessage-like experience — or at least that’s what Google hopes. But to complicate matters, Hangouts is also still around in the consumer sphere and has generally done quite well. As for Duo, I don’t know anybody who uses it, but it’s hanging in there.
At least if you’re a business user, though, the story is pretty simple: Meet is your new video chat service and Hangouts Chat is Google’s chat service for you. And then when you get home, you can just use iMessage or Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp or WeChat or Viber or Signal or Telegram or, if you insist, Hangouts.