google hangouts

Google’s real-time chat service, Hangouts is finally shutting down. The company on Monday announced that it would start transiting consumer Hangouts users to Google Chat before the platform is no longer available in November 2022.

For the unversed, Hangouts, which was originally a feature of Google+, became a standalone product in 2013, when Google began integrating features from 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 asking them to upgrade from Hangouts to Chat in Gmail or the standalone Chat app. Similarly, people who use the Hangouts Chrome extension will get a notification asking them to move to Chat on the web or install the Chat web app.

In July, people who use Hangouts in Gmail on the web will upgraded automatically be to Chat in Gmail. Hangouts on the web will continue to be available until later this year. Users will see an in-product notice at least a month before Hangouts on the web starts redirecting to Chat on the web.

For the majority of the users, conversations will be 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 highlighted how 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 better collaborate and express themselves, and now we are taking steps to help remaining Hangouts users move to Chat,” Ravi Kanneganti, Product Manager, Google Chat, wrote in a blog post.

According to the tech giant, moving to Google Chat will allow users to edit Docs, Slides or Sheets with side-by-side editing, making it easier to collaborate while continuing the conversation. It also includes Spaces, a dedicated place for topic-based collaboration.

Additionally, Groups and teams can share ideas, work on documents, and manage files and tasks, all from a single location with the new integrated view in Gmail, which makes it easier to use Chat alongside Gmail inbox, Spaces, and Meet.

“Switching to Chat also makes expressing yourself more fun, whether you are using emojis with skin-tone selections, rich text editing to give your chats emphasis, @mentions to notify someone in the group or sending a GIF,” Kanneganti added.

Over the coming months, Google plans to roll out a few new features to 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.