Google kills Hangouts to make way for Google Chat

A photo of a phone on the Google Chat screen

Google Chat is officially the dominant chat app on the Google Workspaces platform.
photo: Florence Ion / Gizmodo

Google is officially Hangouts are urging Holdouts to switch to the new messaging suite called Chat. Starting today, if you’re still using Hangouts on your mobile device, you’ll see an in-app screen that prompts you to switch to Chat in Gmail or the separate chat app. If you’re using Chrome, you’ll see the prompt encouraging you to accept the inevitability of what’s happening starting July. Hangouts on the web will continue to operate until the end of this year.

Luckily, I switched to Google’s new chat app when the company announced it was retiring meeting places last summer. Google allowed users to switch before forced migrationand the updated experience was much tastier than Hangouts anyway.

Google Chat is still a chat app connected to your Google account. You can use rich text editing and Slack-like features like @mentions and emoji reactions. Google Chat also prioritizes collaboration. It provides group chat “spaces” where you can embed things like files, photos, and tasks for easy reference. I use the new features to schedule play dates, day trips, and track images that aren’t in the cloud. It’s also become a way my partner and I manage our household without having to switch between Google’s many other apps.

The Google Chat transformation is primarily a by-product of the company’s move to workspaces. As Google specifically states on its blog, has “high ambitions for the future of Chat.” In the coming months, we can expect additional features like direct calling, inline threading, and the ability to share and view multiple images. The comparisons to Slack and Discord are undeniable. I am also curious whether the direct call function is a holdover from Google duothe company’s video app also opposite an expiration date across the board.

There is no doubt that Google Chat will come in handy in the organizations that use the company’s Workspaces suite to get things done. But it’s a miracle if it’s going to have the same impact that other messaging apps have had, considering how frequently Google pulled them bait and Switch.

The good news is that the transition to Google Chat will be seamless. I still have my original conversations from when Chat was Hangouts. The app also has a new feature that detects when you’re chatting from another device, so you don’t get pinged with every new reply across multiple platforms.