It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally time to say our final goodbyes to Google Hangouts. The video chat service is expected to be completely shut down later today.
Introduced in 2011, Google Hangouts was one of two messaging services launched by Google that year, the other being a text messaging service called Huddle. It was later rebranded as Hangouts Chat in 2017 with a new focus on enterprise use. It wasn’t until 2020 that Hangouts Chat was renamed Google Chat and the company announced that it would be ending the classic Hangouts messaging service.
Although the mobile app was retired in July this year, the web app still remained. But that was only on borrowed time as Google is about to officially end it.
Earlier this year, Google posted a message in its Help Center revealing a roadmap for the eventual shutdown of the video chat service. The company said:
Access to Hangouts on the web will be available until November 1, 2022. After that date, users will be redirected to Chat on the web. Users can continue to use Google Takeout to download their data until January 1, 2023.
For the most part, there isn’t a big difference between Google Hangouts and Google Chat. Both offer account-based messaging and other features. However, Google Chats cannot be used for SMS or VoIP phone calls like the mobile version of Hangouts is allowed.