Google says goodbye to Hangouts

Google Hangouts on an older Android phone
(Image credit: Android Central)

Update (Nov 2, 3:15 pm ET): Support officially ended on November 1.

What you need to know

  • It is time for remaining Google Hangout users to shift to Chat.
  • Google will start notifying existing Hangout users to make the shift.
  • The move comes after the announcement made two years ago.

As promised, Google is beginning the complete transition of users from its Hangouts to the Chat app starting this week. While the company allowed Google Workspace users to move their Hangouts conversations to the new Chat app early this year, the remaining users will now get help from the search giant to have a smoother transition. 

The move comes after the announcement in October 2020, when Google made Chat available for everyone. Ever since, the company has given people the option to continue using Hangouts or upgrade to the new Google Chat app, which has a standalone app or can be accessed from the web either through Gmail or through chat.google.com.

Google Hangouts to Chat

(Image credit: Google)

The option is no longer voluntary, as the remaining Google Hangout mobile users will start witnessing an in-app screen recommending users to move to Chat in Gmail or the Chat app. Likewise, the Hangout chrome extension users will get alerts to either use the Chat web app or install the app individually. And, starting next month, consumers using the Hangouts feature through Gmail on the web will automatically be upgraded to Chat in Gmail.

The transition to Chat doesn't affect the current conversations as it would still allow users to pick from where they left off on the Hangouts app, which is handy. In an accompanying blog post, Google suggested that Hangouts is still available later this year. That being said, Google is encouraging people to shift to the new app as early as possible, as they would see an in-product notice at least a month before Hangouts redirects to Chat on the web.

Furthermore, a support page tells us that the web service will begin redirecting users as of November 1.

Google Chat is inevitably a better alternative than Hangouts as it opens up more options like editing Google Docs and Sheets side-by-side without disturbing the ongoing conversation, for instance. The Chat also has Spaces wherein users can share ideas and work on documents across teams, to name a few. The other nifty feature includes a new integrated view in Gmail where users can access their Inbox, Spaces, and Meet all in one place.

While you can still access Hangouts on the best Android phones, it's time to make the transition as quickly as possible as it brings more features and better integration. Google further hints it has bigger plans for the future of Chat, and Android phone users can likely see them in the coming months. That could include a direct calling feature next to in-line threading in Spaces and the ability to share and view multiple images.

Update

Users bid adieu to Hangouts as the November 1 shutdown date has come and gone, and the website should start redirecting users to use Chat instead.

"Starting November 1, 2022, Hangouts on the web will redirect to Chat on Web. We recommend moving to Chat now."

It is not yet redirecting us when we visit the site, but the option to switch is clearly present. Still, it is only a matter of time since we're now just past the deadline. Meanwhile, users have until January 1, 2023, to download their data before it's deleted forever.

Vishnu works as a freelance News Writer for Android Central. For the past four years, he's been writing about consumer technology, primarily involving smartphones, laptops, and every other gizmo connected to the Internet. When he is away from keyboard, you can see him going on a long drive or chilling on a couch binge-watching some crime series.

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