The tech behemoth has shut down their voice chat, text and video app, migrating users to Google Chat.
Hangouts, the cross-platform instant messaging service that began life back in May of 2013 was earmarked for shutdown back in June of this year and true to their word, Google have pulled the plug right on schedule...
According to a recent statement from Google itself, the company has sent Hangouts to that place where obsolete instant messaging services go to die. Google has ended Hangouts for good with users now being redirected to Google Chat, a service that the company has big hopes (and fresh ideas) for.
The multi medium chat app that was bolted into Gmail has been retired since July of this year, with the mobile apps in Google Play and the Apple App Store removed at the same time as the Chrome extension.
If that was the sunset, then today has seen the last rays of Hangout, dip beneath the horizon forever.
The last available offering for users, the messaging web app has now officially been retired too, with November 1st being the last day of service before users have no choice but to migrate over to Chat.
Will Chat have the features of Hangouts?
Chat will certainly try, Google has learnt much from apps such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. It has the ability to integrate across Google Work Space and delivers useful features such as file collaboration within Google Docs, as well as group chats and tools aimed at security.
Emojis, GIFS and rich text features are all baked in too, as is the ability to notify other users with @mentions.
Those who have used Hangouts have been able to move over to Chats since July 2021; however the prompts urging remaining users to do so began back in late spring of this year.
Contacts and messages should make their way smoothly over from Hangouts to Chats, but take note: some data will require migrating manually. This is why Google has taken the smart decision to make user Hangout data available for download until January 1st of 2023.
Anyone wishing to do so can, with Google Takeout.
A new Chapter for Google & Messaging
The tech giant clearly has big plans and high hopes for the future of Chat, as Ravi Kanneganti, product manager for Chat proudly announced in a blog post from early 2022:
“Google Chat offers a modern and integrated experience in Google Workspace. We have big ambitions for the future of Chat, and over the coming months you'll see even more features like 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.”
But the question many have in mind is this: Has Google learnt from past mistakes?
The last two decades have seen more than a dozen attempts to develop and deliver a truly successful messenger service, from underwhelming offerings such as Google Talk to the doomed Google Allo...
None have really hit the mark in the way that competitor’s offerings such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger have.
Those levels of established domination will take some beating and it will be interesting to see how Google take them on going forwards.