Google processes more than 8.5 billion searches a day. More than 4.1 billion people use the site’s Gmail services. Google acts as the parent to a massive suite of services that serve a plethora of functions. What most of these people overlook is the site’s chat function. What started as Google Talk in 2005 slowly evolved into Google+ and later into Google Hangouts, where people could chat directly with each other. Hangouts and other chat services have been an integral if often overlooked, part of the Google suite of services for nearly two decades, but that era is coming to an end. What do you need to know about the looming Google Hangouts shutdown?
The Google Hangouts Shutdown is Coming — Sooner Than We Thought
Google finally announced the official end of support date for Google Hangouts — November 2022. There are signs that the Google Hangouts shutdown could happen even earlier. A recent mobile update has disabled Google Hangouts on Android and iOS, forcing users to switch to Google Chat. The Hangouts website is scheduled to shut down sometime during October 2022.
It’s important to note that despite sharing a name, Google Chat is not the same as GChat or other previous incarnations of the company’s chat software.
Your History is Secure, But Download It Soon
Google has supported a chat service since 2005. You may have a lot of history there. For the moment, that history is secure. The switch from Hangouts to Google Chat includes an automatic transfer of your history and chats from the latter to the former, but if you want to create a backup, head over to Google Takeout and download your files.
It Applies to Extensions Too
Even the Hangouts extensions are vanishing in favor of the Chats Progressive web app. In addition to accessing the chat, you’ll be able to choose notifications settings and decide when the extension starts. As with the previous incarnations of these chat programs, the features are integrated directly into your Gmail inbox.
Plenty of New Features to Explore
We’re most excited about all the new features we’ll get to explore in the wake of the Google Hangouts shutdown. Among other things, it has one feature we’ve been requesting for years — dark mode! The new version of Google Chat will feel more like a Discord or Slack chat, including features like smart replies, @ mentions and GIF support. Start collecting your favorite GIFs now. It even appears to have some of Discord’s newer features, like creating in-line threads (in Spaces, at least) and making direct calls to individual users.
Google Chat provides better integration for companies that rely on Google Spaces and support for collaboration on Google Docs, Sheets and other platforms. The side-by-side editing features, for example, will come in handy for companies with teams working remotely.
Rest in Peace, Google Hangouts
Whether you’re a Hangouts veteran or have only used it for work, the Google Hangouts shutdown will impact everyone. If you need a copy of your data, download it soon before Google shuts everything down in November 2022. Have you tried out the new Google Chats yet? What do you think of the transition from Hangouts to Chats?
Follow Us On
Get the latest tech stories and news in seconds!
Sign up for our newsletter below to receive updates about technology trends