Hangouts is over: another Google service going to the cemetery

It’s over for Hangouts. In a few months, the service will be stopped for good. The remaining users will be switched to Google Chat.

It’s decided: Google will put an end to Hangouts in 2022. The American company has decided to close the story of this instant messaging service for good, by switching everyone to Google Chat in the coming months. The intentions of the Mountain View firm were clarified in an official blog post, shared on June 27, 2022.

Launched in 2013, Google Hangouts was originally intended to replace multiple chat and video calling platforms (including Google Talk and Google+ Hangouts) with a single app. But from the turn of 2016-2017, the strategy of the American company changed, with the withdrawal of certain features (such as direct and SMS management).

Google wouldn’t call it a failure, but Hangouts didn’t work. // Source: Google

Google has long planned to shut down Hangouts

At the same time, Google has started to develop other projects, including Google Chat and Google Meet (which is also undergoing significant upheavals during a reorganization with Google Duo). Projects that would inevitably work on the flowerbeds of Google Hangouts. Then 2019 arrived and with it Google’s desire to eventually do without Hangouts.

Hangouts should have switched to the left a few years ago, but the web giant delayed at the request of Internet users. The closure was postponed to mid-2020, then 2021 and finally 2022 – admittedly, the American company has accentuated during this period its promotion of Chat, which succeeds Hangouts, but without completely disconnecting it.

The shutdown of Hangouts is announced in four phases:

  • Since June 27, people using Hangouts on their mobile have seen a message on the screen asking them to switch to Chat in Gmail or on the dedicated Chat app. Same goes for the Hangouts Chrome extension, with a call to switch to Chat web version or on the Chat web app.
  • In July, people who use Hangouts in Gmail on the web will be upgraded to Chat in Gmail.
  • In October, people will see a notification in Hangouts for the web at least a month before the service starts redirecting to its Google Chat equivalent.
  • In November, Hangouts will then close permanently.

Google says it has arranged for chats in Hangouts to automatically switch to Chat, so everyone can find their history and the transition is as painless as possible. But the company also urges to retrieve a copy of its messages before November 2022 — support is available.

It is not unusual to see a company decide, on an ad hoc basis, to shut down a service that is not working. Scenarios are very common in tech. With Google, however, this phenomenon has taken on somewhat absurd proportions, to the point that sites have been opened to show how the company is burying apps, services and products in spades.

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