Some Hangouts users are getting a preview of Google Chat
This preview isn’t available globally yet and it is still riddled with bugs.
Google, last year, announced that it would be replacing Hangouts with Chats. At the time, Google had also announced that it would be offering the service, which was earlier available only to the G-Suite users for free. Now, word is that the company has started giving a preview of Google Chat to some users.
As per a report by Ars Technica‘s Ron Amadeo (via 9To5Google), some users using the company's Google Chat app are seeing the “Welcome to Google Chat” prompt in the standalone app. The prompt being displayed by the company says, “Google Chat introduces a new experience and features not found in Hangouts...Because this is a preview of the new Chat, you might experience bugs and other issues.”
There still doesn't seem to be a way to do a 1-to-1 video call. Google chat always wants to paste a URL for a corporate "video meeting" into the chat.— Ron Amadeo (@RonAmadeo) February 24, 2021
Hangouts launched a video call on your device and make the contact's phone ring like an incoming call. It was so much better.
In a separate tweet, Amadeo points out that Google Chat's video calling feature is completely dependent on Google Meet and that the messaging platform pastes a URL for a "video meeting" into the chat instead of starting a video call directly.
That said, this preview isn't available globally yet and it is still riddled with bugs.