Google Chat goes free in 2021, while Hangouts loses features this month

A picture showing Google Hangouts turning into Google Chat.

Enlarge / This is happening whether you like it or not. (credit: Google)

It's time to talk about Google messaging again.

The company's latest blog lays out future plans for its suite of messaging services, which includes stripping features out of Google Hangouts as we head toward its eventual demise and the promotion of Google Chat to being the main messaging product.

Since it can be hard to keep track of the dozen-or-so messaging products Google has released over the years, before we get started, here's a glossary of the Google messaging apps that will be referenced in this article.

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