Google Hangouts Closing in November

John Lister's picture

Google says its messaging service Hangouts will close by November. Users who want to download past conversations may need to act sooner than that.

Google Hangouts launched in 2013 and was designed to be a simple form of instant messaging that worked regardless of what operating system or platform the users were on. That simplicity was somewhat undermined by Google's chopping and changing as it developed various services. (Source: arstechnica.com)

Google originally had two messaging tools: Messenger as part of the ill-fated and Google+ Messenger social network, and Talk. It then merged features from the two to produce Hangouts.

While Hangouts was aimed mainly at consumers, Google also had business-based messaging services called Meet and Chat. Now Meet is still for business, while Chat is open to the general public. And then there's Google Allo, which was decommissioned in 2019, which was yet another instant messaging platform that failed to catch on.

Automatic Transfer For Some

The main thing to know is that Google Hangouts users are being switched to Google Chat, with a promise that ongoing conversations and contacts will switch across.

The transfer process varies depending on the platform. Those who use it via Gmail will switch automatically. Those who use it via a mobile app or Chrome browser extension will get a prompt to install the corresponding tool for Chat.

Those who use the Hangouts website won't have to do anything. It will continue to work until later this year and visitors will get at least one month's notice of that ending, at which point the site will redirect to chat.

Data Download

The main deadline to worry about is for users who want to download their full archive of data from Google Hangouts before it's deleted in November. That may be worth doing as "some conversations or portions of conversations won't automatically migrate from Hangouts to Chat." Downloading the data works through the Google Takeout service. (Source: google.com)

The main difference with Google Chat over Google Hangouts is better support for collaborative, real-time editing of documents and spreadsheets. There's also more support for emojis and GIFs in chats, which not everyone will see as an advantage.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you ever used Hangouts? Have you tried Google Chat? Does Google have any chance of dominating the messaging world in the way it does with web-based email, browsers and search?

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Comments

olds97_lss's picture

I had been using trillian for years for work chat and in the past week, it stopped working with google talk/chat/whatever. It didn't do all the things that chat did, but it did allow you to change the format of the text, notifications and windows that pop up. Also, the history feature of it was far nicer to navigate/use than google's.

So long old friend... you will be missed.

eric's picture

Hangouts was at one time the absolute best instant messaging platform. At the height of G+, hangouts was fully integrated into G+. At one point you could also use Hangouts as your SMS app, and Hangouts dialer add-in would call from your Google Voice number. You could also voice and/or video chat from Hangouts. There was also a decent Google Maps integration, wherein you could drop a pin from Maps into Hangouts or one button share location with a chat. It was THE all around app, especially for G+ users. Ingress players regularly coordinated operations between dozens to hundreds of players at one time using Hangouts.

Of course, Google had to gut it. Because why should we deserve such app goodness? They gave zero F's how many people loved and relied on the apps,just like G+. After turning Hangouts into THE app to use, they started removing features and gutting it. And just like most times Google does this, what they tried to replace the Hangouts services with failed horribly. Duo and Allo didn't even last 2 years? Meet and Chat have not near as many users as Hangouts. Discord and Slack took over for most groups that had previously relied on Hangouts and G+.

Ultimately, it has been a hard, bitter, and undeniable lesson to learn: do not, not ever, think you can rely on any single Google service for long term. Don't ever put your eggs in a Google basket, because they WILL destroy it sooner or later, no matter how good or successful it is.
Don't trust Google.
Don't rely on any Google app or service.