It’s been almost a whole year since we started talking about how Google Hangouts officially was set to disappear. Since then, we seem to have repetition same thing every few months, just for Hangouts to stubbornly persevere in life. If apps can talk, Hangouts would probably say, “What is dead may never die.”
However, Google took another slow step on Friday according to turning off the lights Hangouts forever. Spotted 9to5Google, IOS and Android users with free personal accounts have started seeing a banner that says “Hangouts is being replaced by Google Chat.” (Google Chat is Google’s version of Slack, while Google Meet is its version of Zoom). Users too saw the “Learn More” button that takes them to a support article with an explanation of switching from Hangouts to Chat, as well as a “Switch to Chat in Gmail” button.
The store explains that clicking the toggle button will sign out of the Hangouts mobile app, which means you are will no longer receive notifications from Hangouts or send messages with the app. Google also reminds users that their Hangouts has been since last year they are already available in Chat, adding that older conversations will be available later.
This change has not only affected mobile devices. Google’s Hangouts has started to display a similar message: “It’s time to switch to Google Chat.” Users are then redirected to the Chat website.
Sounds like a solid step towards nibbling dust, doesn’t it? I thought so too, but then I was reminded that Hangouts never die. According to 9to5Google, mobile users who aren’t willing to say goodbye to Hangouts – which seems weird considering how many times its downfall has been mentioned in the media – can still use the app after Google unsubscribes. All they have to do is open the Hangouts app and add their account again.
There is no official Hangout end date yet. The company says a “mandatory upgrade” for business accounts will happen in late 2021, which is happening soon, but no termination has been announced for users with free personal accounts.
I have nothing against Hangouts. I’m in a place where every time I see something about it, I think, “Wait, is it still there?” In fact, when Google does unplug the plug, I could ask someone to pinch me.