Google has announced it will shut down its Hangouts messaging service in November and will today start telling users of the mobile app to move to Google Chat in Gmail or the Chat app.
It's been almost two years since Google announced it would retire Hangouts in favor of Chat: in July 2021 Google started pushing Workspace users to Chat, while consumers with personal Gmail accounts could still use Hangouts via Gmail.
Google will immediately move Hangouts mobile users to Chat after displaying an in-app screen asking them to make the move. People using the hangouts Chrome extension will be asked to move to Chat on the web or to install the Chat web app.
SEE: Cloud computing dominates. But security is now the biggest challenge
Then in July, those using Hangouts in Gmail on the web will be upgraded to Chat in Gmail.
"While we encourage everyone to make the switch to Chat, 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," Google notes in a blogpost.
Hangouts users can use Google Takeout to download their data before the service is switched off in November. Some but not all conversations are automatically migrated from Hangouts to Chat, so Google has provided instructions to users on how to use the Takeout tool for Hangouts in a support page.
Users will have access to Google Hangouts and all associated data through the web until at least October 2022, Google notes. They can download Hangouts account data, including your conversations, until at least November 2022.
Google is planning on adding more features to Chat in coming months, including direct calling, in-line threading in Spaces, and the ability to share and view multiple images.
The company argues 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 its Spaces app for topic-based collaboration -- another app it created for hybrid work.
Google launched Hangouts in 2013 and is part of Google's apparently rather haphazard approach to building apps for collaboration. Hangouts would be its main chat app for years, but then it also launched Hangouts Meet for video meetings and then launched Duo and Meet for video meetings. Earlier this month it decided to merge Duo and Meet.