Google recently announced on its official blog that it will be replacing Hangouts with a new Chat service. The change is part of the search engine’s effort to rebrand the Workspace ecosystem and branding.
With this implementation, users will now be able to utilise the new Chat service for free, beginning next year. The revamp will be similar to Hangouts and will share features that are identical to the former incarnation. Additionally, Chat will retain the same strong phishing protections that are also used in Gmail.
The shift from Hangouts to Chat also means some support and features will also be removed. Support for Google Fi is one of them but with its departure, Chats will serve as its official replacement. That said, Google will also begin redirecting users on Hangouts to task-oriented features, such as Messages and Voice. At the same time, Google will also send notifications to Workspace admins to inform them about the final migration stages.
(Source: Google Blog)