It’s been a long time coming but Google has finally shut down Google Hangouts, a text, video and voice chat app built into Gmail.
Introduced in 2011, Google Hangouts was one of two messaging services launched by Google that year, the other being a text message service called Huddle. It was rebranded to Hangouts Chat in 2017 with a new focus on enterprise use. It wasn’t until 2020, that Hangouts Chat was rebranded to Google Chat and the company announced Hangouts was seeing it’s last days.
Both the Android and iOS Hangouts apps have been closed down since July of this year, with the web app going down on November 1 being the final goodbye.
Google is switching Hangouts users over to Google Chat, the company’s Slack-like instant messaging app for businesses. The company announced in June 2022 that it would prompt Hangout users to move to Chat in Gmail or the app.
For the most part, there’s not a big difference between Google Hangouts and Google Chat. Both offer account-based messaging and other features. However, Google Chats can’t be used for SMS or VoIP phone calls like the mobile version of Hangouts allowed.
What Chat adds is additional features for group conversations as well as security and collaboration tools like Spaces and editing Docs, Slides or Sheets side-by-side with other users. Chat users can also send GIFs and use @mentions to notify someone in the group.
Back in June, Google Chat Product Manager Ravi Kanneganti wrote in a official blog, “As we take this final step to bring remaining Hangouts users to Chat, we hope users will appreciate our continued investment in making Chat a powerful place to create and collaborate.”