Google rebrands Hangouts Chat to just “Google Chat”
Google’s confusing usage of the “Hangouts” branding for enterprise G Suite products has officially come to an end. After Hangouts Meet was renamed to simply “Google Meet,” the Hangouts Chat service is now similarly named “Google Chat.” Surprising to no one, this is yet another confusing move in Google’s history with messaging services.
The Hangouts chat service was launched all the way back in 2013 as a replacement to Google Talk (often called “GChat”). Now, it seems things have come full circle as Hangouts Chat adopts a name that harkens back to those old GChat days. Google has been slowly walking back the Hangouts brand for a while now and the Google Chat rebrand is just the latest move.
The Google Chat rebrand was spotted in support documents, the US trademark office, and was finally confirmed to The Verge. Besides sounding like an ancient messaging service that Google abandoned many years ago, the Google Chat name also shouldn’t be confused with Google’s RCS protocol named “Chat.” The vaguely named “Chat” standard is what gets enabled when you have RCS support in the Messages app.
The Hangouts brand is not completely dead yet. The consumer version of the Hangouts “classic” chat app retains the name. Hangouts Chat, now Google Chat, is more of a Slack-competitor than the old messaging app it used to be. Google has slowly been transitioning G Suite users from Hangouts “classic” to Google Chat. That migration is set to be complete by “no sooner than June 2020.”