Google Hangouts stares down extinction as mobile users are finally forced to Chat

Stop, stop, it’s already dead!

While Google pushed Workspace users to start using Chat back in March, those of us with free, personal Gmail accounts have had the opportunity to continue using Hangouts, armed with the knowledge that the end is, indeed, nigh. Well, fellow Hangouts crusaders, the end times have finally arrived. Not only will the app not make it through the end of the year before it’s shut down, but mobile users might not make it through the day before they’re prompted to switch to Chat.

According to a new blog post, Google is ready to start pushing those last few remaining Hangouts users to Chat, efforts that begin today on smartphones. If you’re using the Hangouts app, a new splash screen will push you to upgrade to Chat, either through Gmail or by using the dedicated Chat app. Unfortunately, those are your only options – with this move, Hangouts on Android is dead, months after being removed from the Play Store. The same goes for those using the app’s Chrome extension today. Those using Hangouts through Gmail have a small extension on life, as it’ll switch to Chat in Gmail sometime in July.

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Google makes it clear that it wants everyone to move to Chat as soon as possible. That said, it’s not forcing those remaining Hangouts web users to switch until later this year. According to Google, its legacy experience will no longer be available after November 2022, with users receiving notices at least a month before the app goes dark. Once Hangouts is dead, it’ll automatically redirect to Chat.

Although the company says Hangouts conversations will auto-migrate to the new app, it’s encouraging users to take some time and export their data to be sure. If you’ve been chatting away on Google’s platform for the last decade, you can use Takeout to export your message threads before the forced migration this year.

This move has been a long time coming. It’s happening just as Google is spending some time cleaning house, folding Duo into Meet and reorganizing how it handles reminders across apps. Who knows – maybe the company is finally learning to avoid redundant apps and features.

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