Hangouts is one of Google’s most established messaging apps, but it’s been dying a slow death for quite some time now. The transition to Google Chat is mostly complete for Google Workspace business users, but personal account holders have been able to hang on (sorry) for a bit longer. It looks like Google is preparing to put a stop to that, though.
Personal users who try to use the Android or iOS apps are being greeted by a blue banner explaining that Hangouts is not long for this world (via 9to5Google). You’re encouraged to “Switch to Chat in Gmail” and if you press that button, you’ll be signed out of Hangouts with that account and taken to the Chat section in Gmail. If you’re still actively using the app, this means you’ll no longer receive notifications or be able to send messages anymore. This really is the beginning of the end.
You can still add your account back in the Hangouts app if you really want to squeeze every last second of life out of it, but it will be going away for good soon enough, so maybe it’s time to get used to the new way of doing things before you have no choice.
Google is also rolling out a similar message to the web version of the Hangouts app, but it won’t sign you out there — rather, it opens a new tab with Google Chat in the hope that you’ll forget all about the service you’ve been using for years. It’ll also prompt you to install the Chat desktop app.
While we know the enterprise version of hangouts will stop working later this year, there’s no official word on when the service will shut down for personal accounts. These latest moves suggest that will be sooner rather than later, so don’t expect free accounts to have access any longer than business ones. Hangouts will likely be dead by the end of the year, in every sense, so say you better say your goodbyes now. Check out Ryne’s excellent retrospective if you’d like to reminisce and shed a tear.