(NEXSTAR) – After more than a decade, Google is preparing to shut down its messaging platform, Google Hangouts, and to transition users to its newest service, Google Chat.
Hangouts – which was originally part of Google+, according to The Verge – allows users to message others or video call them. It can be accessed via a standalone app and an online feature. Google announced changes for Hangouts users in late 2020, which included directing them to use either Fi, Google’s cell phone service, or Google Voice.
Chat became free to access shortly after, and was added to Google Workspace in place of Hangout earlier this year.
In a Monday blog post, Google announced Hangouts will no longer be available starting in November 2022. If you use Hangouts on your phone or desktop, it’s likely that you’ve already been prompted to move to Chat.
Starting in July, those who access Hangouts in Gmail online will be upgraded to Chat in Gmail. According to Google, Hangouts on the web will still be available to access until fall. Users of Hangouts on the web will receive a notice at least one month before Hangouts begins redirecting to Chat on the web.
Chat is similar to Hangouts and other messaging platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams. It allows users to send private or group messages; offers Spaces as “a dedicated place for topic-based collaboration;” and can be accessed via an app. Users can also access Chat in an integrated view in Gmail.
“We have big ambitions for the future of Chat, and over the coming months you’ll see even more features like direct calling, in-line threading in Spaces and the ability to share and view multiple images,” Ravi Kanneganti, a product manager for Google Chat, wrote in Monday’s blog.
Hangouts isn’t the first platform to enter the “Google grave.” Among those is the aforementioned Google+, which was replaced with Currents about three years ago. Currents will be replaced with Spaces – already a feature within Chat – in 2023, Google announced in February.