Google officially kills another chat app

Google Hangouts is finally going away for everyone in November 2022, and Google Chat is ready to step in as a full replacement. Once reserved for Google Workspace subscribers, Chat usually offers more features, so it’s a good trade-off.

Every change involves learning how the new system works, and the small details can sometimes be frustrating. Starting early is the best way to take control of the situation and manage the transition on your own schedule.

Google began phasing out Hangouts for Workspace customers in February 2022 and is now encouraging all Hangouts users to switch to Google Chat by November. In most cases, Hangouts messages and contacts should automatically appear in Chat, making it easy to continue ongoing conversations and reference past information.

When you open Hangouts in a web browser, a message appears at the top of the page with a link to open Google Chat and another that provides additional information. A similar transition is recommended when using the Hangouts Chrome extension, with the Google Chat progressive web app offered as an alternative to just loading Chat into a tab. The Hangouts mobile app will also be shutting down in November, and a Google Chat app is available for iPhone and Android phones.

The Google Chat transition warning in the Hangouts window.

Chat offers more features, including easy access to Google Meet – its video conferencing solution – and Google Spaces – an environment for sharing Google Drive files and Google to-do lists among multiple people and integrating them with messaging text, photo and video. In Gmail settings, chat can be enabled in a sidebar so that it can be accessed without loading a separate webpage.

As far as forced changes go, switching to chat really isn’t that bad. One of the few drawbacks is that the video call ringtone only works in the Gmail mobile app. however, a Google Meet invite can be sent from Chat to achieve a similar result.

Google has been notoriously unclear about which messaging app to use for any situation, often launching several competing solutions at once. A single thoughtful response to the common need to communicate with friends, family, and co-workers would likely have been far more popular, and perhaps cutting out Google Talk, Duo, and Hangouts will help resolve the confusion once and for all.

Google Chat and Meet are the future and integrate more with other Google apps and services. So you need to start the transition now.

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