Stories

Google replaces Gchat with Hangouts today

Virginia Mayo / AP

The day dreaded by stubborn office workers around the country has finally arrived. At some point today, Google will replace its Google Talk feature in Gmail — known colloquially to most of the world as Gchat — with Google Hangouts.

  • The reasoning: Google's announcement of the switch back in March touts Hangouts' better features and integration with other Google products over the barebones Gchat, which launched way back in 2005.
  • Why it matters: Google's never really made much of a splash in social media — remember Wave? — so, as the company tries to position Hangouts as a business alternative to Slack or a social alternative to Facebook Messenger, it makes sense to force its core group of Gchat users to switch.
  • Why it (really) matters: Look only to the elegiac think pieces on Gchat's death over the past few months to understand why a relatively featureless text chat matters to so many people.