It's been a while since Google announced that it will split Hangout into two separate services — Chat and Meet. For workspace accounts, the transition to Chat began last year, but personal account holders were only given a blurred ETA of "first half of 2021." For a few lucky accounts, the migration started early, in August of 2020, and continued throughout the year and early 2021 (we've received dozens of tips since the original one). Now, things seem to be more official as Google is acknowledging the transition and calling this a "preview" of Google Chat.
Hangouts has been pronounced dead uncountable times, but Google's ill-fated attempt at an instant messaging service is kicking and fighting its demise. Now Google has taken another step to replace its old messenger with Meet and Chat, as group video calls have become unavailable on Android and the web following the latest app update.
Ever since Google announced back in 2017 that Hangouts would be split into the Chat and Meet apps, consumers have been curious about when to expect major changes. We started seeing the first signs of the transition earlier this year, and now Google is letting Hangouts holdovers know what to expect going forward — including the plans for Google Fi and Google Voice customers.
Google Hangouts might not be as popular as it once was, but there are still plenty of people hanging on to it. A good number of Hangouts users across the globe received some strange notifications yesterday, which may be linked to a vulnerability in Google's Firebase platform.
With millions of children currently studying from home, and most likely using cheap computers like Chromebooks, glaring omissions in Chrome OS have come under the spotlight. For example, those who were using Family Link to manage their kids' Google accounts and Chromebooks noticed that they can't install any extensions on them. Maybe that was designed as a security measure, but it hindered the use of video conferencing tools like Zoom and Hangouts. Now that's changing.
We've known for a long time that Google Hangouts was destined to shut down, but most of us couldn't have predicted individual features would be slowly picked from its not-quite-dead body. That seems to be the case with the location sharing function formerly found in Hangouts. As of v32, the convenient messaging feature has been quietly removed.
We know Hangouts isn't long for this world. Support for the service is winding down and being replaced by Meet and Chat, but the transition is slow and has only been initiated for G Suite users so far. Those with personal Gmail accounts can't migrate and many are still attached to Hangouts. Whether you're in that boat or you have some data in the app that you want to save, you probably hit a major issue when trying to download videos: you can't do it from the app.
In March 2017, Google announced that Hangouts would split into Meet and Chat apps, kicking off what has been a long, slow road to shutdown for the original version of the platform. Almost two years later, we now have an official timetable for the winding-down of the well-used service as Google attempts to wrestle a bigger share of the team communication market away from competitors like Slack. The timeline begins with the slow transition of G Suite users from classic Hangouts to Chat and Meet this year, followed by a consumer transition, which will likely begin late in 2020.
For the last few years (since Google launched and the effectively killed Allo), Hangouts has been slowly dying. Bits of it have been broken off, and others were outright killed. According to a report by 9to5Google's Stephen Hall, its days are very literally numbered. The service is expected to shutter in the not-so-far-off year 2020.