Google’s real-time chat service, Hangouts, is finally shutting down. The company announced Monday that it would redirect consumer Hangouts users to Google Chat before the platform becomes unavailable in November 2022.
For the inexperienced, Hangouts, which was originally a feature of Google+, became a standalone product in 2013, when Google started integrating features of Google+ Messenger and Google Talk into Hangouts. The now-defunct cross-platform instant messaging service included messaging, video chat, SMS, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) features.
Starting Monday, mobile users will see an in-app notification prompting them to upgrade from Hangouts to Chat in Gmail or the Chat standalone app. Similarly, people using the Hangouts Chrome extension will get a notification asking them to go to Chat on the web or install the Chat web app.
In July, people using Hangouts in Gmail on the web will be automatically upgraded to Chat in Gmail. Hangouts on the web will remain available until later this year. Users will see an in-product notification at least one month before Hangouts on the web is redirected to Chat on the web.
For most users, conversations are automatically migrated from Hangouts to Chat. However, those who wish to keep a copy of their Hangouts data can use Google Takeout to download their data before the platform shuts down.
Google has also emphasized that Chat is a “better way to connect and collaborate,” and wants its users to take advantage of its modern features and integration with other Google Workspace products.
“We have continued to invest in Chat to help people collaborate and express themselves better, and now we are taking steps to help the remaining Hangouts users adopt Chat,” wrote Ravi Kanneganti, Product Manager, Google Chat , in a blog post.
According to the tech giant, switching to Google Chat will allow users to edit documents, presentations or spreadsheets side by side, making it easier to collaborate while continuing the conversation. It also includes Spaces, a dedicated place for theme-based collaboration.
In addition, Groups and teams can share ideas, work on documents, and manage files and tasks all from one place with the new integrated view in Gmail, making it easier to use Chat alongside Gmail inbox, Spaces, and Meet.
Switching to Chat also makes expressing yourself more fun, whether you’re using emojis with skintone selections, rich text editing to emphasize your chats, @mentions to notify someone in the group, or send a GIF. send,” Kanneganti added.
In the coming months, Google plans to roll out a number of new features for Chat, including direct calling, in-line threading in Spaces, and the ability to share and view multiple images.
“As we take this final step to bring remaining Hangouts users to Chat, we hope users will appreciate our continued investment in making Chat a powerful place to create and collaborate,” Kanneganti concluded.