Google Chat For All
It looks like Google is rolling out Google Chat to all users, in an attempt to finally retire Hangouts after 7 years.
Google Chat is already cross-compatible with Google Hangouts—your contacts and messages in one app will show up in the other—Google just needs to kick users off the old Hangouts clients and get them running the new Google Chat clients.
Rolling Google Chat out to everyone is the first step in that process. Presumably, we’ll eventually see prompts in the old Hangouts clients to switch to Google Chat, while Google Hangouts will finally undergo the promised shutdown that has been delayed several times now.
I find it amusing that this effort of moving users on from Hangouts is still ongoing. Google has pivoted their messaging strategy several times since the release of Hangouts — Allo, RCS, etc. — and users have not budged. Makes you wonder whether it would have just been easier to continue working on Hangouts.