Google has officially removed the Hangouts brand from its enterprise G Suite offering with the rebranding of Hangouts Chat as Google Chat, the company confirmed to The Verge on Thursday. The rebranding follows a similar name change, confirmed yesterday, from the companion videoconferencing app Hangouts Meet to Google Meet.
This latest modification was first hinted at by an updated G Suite support document listing the Google Chat name alongside Google Meet. Of course, this version of Chat is not to be confused with the other version of Chat, the name Google inexplicably gave its relatively new RCS-based Android messaging protocol.
As for the Hangouts brand, it will continue to live on as the name of the consumer chat app that Google spun out of its shutdown social network Google+ back in 2013 as a spiritual successor to Gchat. “There will be no changes to the consumer (classic) version of Hangouts,” a Google spokesperson tells The Verge.
It’s been a long and winding road for Hangouts over the last nearly seven years or so. The product never achieved the same level of cultural cachet as Gchat. Google’s often messy and misguided messaging strategy also meant Hangouts was always competing with nearly a half-dozen other chat and video messaging apps Google insisted on pushing out over the years.
For now, Hangouts for G Suite — this is the workplace version of just the chat app — will continue to exist after Google postponed its discontinuation back in August of last year. In its place is now Google Chat, once Hangouts Chat, which is more of a Slack competitor for more robust workplace productivity and messaging than it is a straightforward, one-to-one messaging app like the Gchat of old. And for everyone else, your web Gmail account and iOS or Android device can still access the original, consumer version of Hangouts for the foreseeable future.