Google has laid Hangouts to rest, a couple of years after it first announced that it was going to push people to use Chat, its Slack-like app, instead. After allowing users to move to Chat on their own in 2021, Google phased out the Hangouts Chat app for Android and iOS in July. Users were shown a prompt telling them that "Hangouts has been replaced by Google Chat" and to switch to either the standalone Chat app or the Chat experience within Gmail. As TechCrunch notes, the last version of the messaging service, Hangouts for the web, is now also going away for good.
When users access the Hangouts website, they might see a message that says: "Starting November 1, 2022, Hangouts on the web will redirect to Chat on Web. We recommend moving to Chat now." We can still access the website without being automatically redirected, but there's a link to Google Chat that we can click to load the new messaging experience. The website might completely disappear in the coming days.
Chat used to be one of Google's business offerings before the company switched up its messaging strategy and made it available to everyone. The company says Chat "opens up new and better ways" to collaborate with features that weren't available on Hangouts. Users can edit Docs, Slides or Sheets side-by-side within Chat. Teams at work or groups of friends can also work on documents and manage tasks using Spaces, which is a dedicated place they can use for topic-based collaboration. And since Gmail features Chat integration, people can easily access conversations without having to open the Chat website.
Google previously said that those who want to keep a copy of their Hangouts data will have to use its Takeout tool before the service is gone for good. We still see Hangouts on Takeout, so those who want to do some last-minute data-saving may want to do so now while it's still possible.