Google Hangouts has been phased out. Following an announcement by Google earlier this year, Hangouts users will be moved to Google Chat, the Slack-type instant messaging app.
Google Hangouts has been made inaccessible on November 1. In June, Google announced it would prompt Hangouts users to move to Google Chat. The Android and iOS apps have been unavailable since July. Hangouts took longer to shut down than expected.
Data migration isn’t fully automatic
Even though most of the contacts and messages will be automatically transferred, not all data is shifted to Chat. Google has advised users to use Google Takeout to download and save copies of their data if they need to. The deadline for completing the Hangouts data migration is January 2023.
Hangouts started as a feature on Google+ before it became an app. It accrued over five billion downloads on the Google Play Store. Even though Chat will never fully replace Hangouts, it comes with extra features for group conversations as well as security and collaboration tools for editing Docs, Sheets and Slides while in conversations.
Chat is presented as a better alternative
Google claims that Chat is a better way to connect with others than Hangouts. In June, Google Chat product manager Ravi Kanneganti said that the organization hopes users will appreciate the resources put into making Google Chat a powerful replacement for collaboration and creation.
In June, Google sent out prompts to Hangouts users in Gmail and the app, asking them to migrate to Google Chat. The migration is free. Although Google Chat started as a Slack-type platform for business users, it has since been made accessible to consumers and professionals alike.