In an email sent to businesses, Google announced that it will remove the chat and call history features from Google Business Profiles on July 31, 2024. This decision significantly impacts how you interact with your customers on Google’s platform. Let’s explore the reasons behind this change, the timeline for phasing out these features, and the steps you can take to adapt.

Phase-Out Timeline

Google will implement this in two stages:

  • After July 15, 2024: Customers can no longer start new chat conversations with businesses from Google. However, existing chats will continue until the end of the month.
  • After July 31, 2024: Google will fully disable the chat functionality, and businesses will lose access to their call history records. Google will also notify customers about this discontinuation.

Why Is Google winding down chat and call history?

Google has not yet offered a definitive reason. They cited “streamlining operations” as the primary reason for removing these features. The company is prioritizing its focus on higher-impact tools and features for businesses, shifting resources to more widely used and effective solutions.

Some are also speculating low usage and increasing spam to be probable reasons behind this decision. Such spam messages might tank the response rates of businesses which further impacts visibility in nearby searches. But these are mostly speculations and we have little data to back them up for now.

Impact on Businesses

The removal of chat and call history will significantly change how you interact with customers on Google’s platform. Businesses will no longer engage with customers through chat or access customer call history from their Business Profile. 

However, customers can still find and contact you via Google Search and Maps, and learn about your business through your website links, business descriptions, photos, and other shared content.

What you should do next

To prepare for this change, here are a few things you should do immediately:

  • Download your chat/call history: Download chat and call history records using Google Takeout until August 30, 2024.
  • Redirect existing conversations to other channels: If you have any ongoing chats on your Business Profile, temporarily redirect them to other channels such as email, whatsapp, slack, etc.
  • Add phone number: If you haven’t yet, then it’s best to add a phone number to your Business Profile by July 31, 2024, so customers can contact you directly.

Remove any Brand-managed entry points to chat

If you have embedded Google’s business chat to any other platform using brand-managed entry points like URLs, links, or widgets, best to start taking them down and notifying your customers. You can also redirect them to other channels. Partners or brands that are using only Google entry points, such as Maps, local pack, sitlinks, and such, don’t need to take any action.

Here’s more on entry points

Explore alternatives to chat and call history

Several alternatives to Google Business Profile chat and call history are available. Whatsapp and Slack offer similar features and can be used as potential channels to communicate with customers. In Europe, customers may also see the option to chat on alternate channels like WhatsApp from within the inbox. If you want to connect with users directly from GBP, you can add your phone number or use a live chat option on your website.

Updates on Synup’s Google Business Messenger

One of our well-liked features – Business Chat Messenger, which was built on Google Business Messages API, will be sunsetted soon. Be assured that we are continuously working on coming up with newer ways to help you interact with your customers.

More updates on this soon

What’s next?

We understand adapting to this change may be challenging for you or your clients. We’ll try our best to ensure a smoother transition to this change for you. Feel free to reach out to your customer success manager or contact our support team if you need more help navigating these changes.

Have more questions?

1. Is the chat FAQs feature being discontinued along with GBP chat? 

Yes, all chat features will be discontinued by July 31, 2024.

2. Will this impact businesses using the Google Business Messages API? 

Yes, the API will be affected, and businesses should explore alternative messaging options.

3. Will this change impact any other GBP APIs outside of Messaging?

In Google’s Performance API, the “BUSINESS_CONVERSATIONS” metric will no longer be available after July 31, 2024.

4. Will customers receive notifications about these changes? 

Yes, customers in existing chat conversations will receive notifications about the feature phaseout starting July 15, 2024.

5. Can customers still request quotes through GBP after July 31, 2024? 

No, customers can currently only request quotes through chat, which will no longer be supported after July 31, 2024.

6. Are there alternative solutions for booking requests previously received through chat? 

In certain countries or regions, customers can reserve services and pay for bookings through the Reserve with Google platform.

7. Can businesses redirect customers to alternative communication channels? 

Yes, while GBP chat is still live, businesses can update their welcome message to redirect customers to alternative communication channels.

8. Will the call button on the Google Business Profile automatically update to the original phone number? 

Yes, numbers will automatically update to use the merchant’s supplied phone number in the Google Business Profile.

9. Should businesses add their phone number to their Business Profile if chat was their primary contact method? 

Yes, if the profile currently does not have a phone number or if the number is hidden, businesses should add one by July 31 so customers can continue contacting them directly.

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