Google has announced that it will shut down its Hangouts messaging service in November and will begin today telling mobile app users to go to Google Chat in Gmail or the Chat app.
It’s been nearly two years since Google announced it was ending Hangouts in favor of Chat: In July 2021, Google Workspace started pushing users to Chat, while consumers with personal Gmail accounts could still use Hangouts over Gmail.
Google will immediately move Hangouts mobile users to Chat after displaying an in-app screen prompting them to make the switch. People using the Hangouts Chrome extension will be prompted to go to Chat on the web or install the Chat web app.
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In July, those using Hangouts in Gmail on the web will be upgraded to Chat in Gmail.
“While we encourage everyone to move to Chat, Hangouts on the web will remain available until later this year. Users will see an in-product notice at least one month before Hangouts on the web is redirected to Chat on the web.”, notes Google in a blog post.
Hangouts users can use Google Takeout to download their data before the service shuts down in November. Some, but not all conversations are automatically migrated from Hangouts to Chat, so Google has provided instructions for users on how to use the Takeout tool for Hangouts on a support page.
Users will be able to access Google Hangouts and all associated data over the internet until at least October 2022, Google notes. They can download Hangouts account information, including your conversations, until at least November 2022.
Google plans to add more features to Chat in the coming months, including instant calling, in-line threading in Spaces, and the ability to share and view multiple images.
The company states that Chat is better for collaboration than Hangouts.
As Google notes, Chat lets users edit Docs, Slides, or Sheets with side-by-side editing, and includes the Spaces app for topic-based collaboration — another app it created for hybrid work.
Google launched Hangouts in 2013, and it’s part of Google’s seemingly haphazard approach to building apps for collaboration. Hangouts would be the main chat app for years, but then it also launched Hangouts Meet for video conferencing and then launched Duo and Meet for video conferencing. Earlier this month, it decided to merge Duo and Meet.