Users who want to keep a copy of their Hangouts data are encouraged to use Google Takeout to download this data before the service is shut in November.
Google is beginning to phase out Google Hangouts for users and encouraging them to migrate to Google Chat.
Google Chat is a communications tool that was initially designed for teams and businesses, but was made available for all users in 2020. At the time, users could switch to Chat or continue using the Hangouts messaging platform.
In a blogpost published yesterday (27 June), Google Chat product manager Ravi Kanneganti said that people who still use Hangouts will now need to “upgrade” to Chat, with its “modern features and integration with other Workspace products”.
“We’ve continued to invest in Chat to help people better collaborate and express themselves, and now we’re taking steps to help remaining Hangouts users move to Chat,” he added.
Google will pull the plug on Hangouts in November. Until then, people who use the feature on mobile will begin to see an in-app prompt asking them to move to the Chat app or the Chat tool in Gmail.
Those who use Hangouts in Gmail on the web will be converted to Chat in Gmail. People who use the Hangouts Chrome extension will be asked to move to Chat on the web or install the Chat web app. Web users will see a notice at least a month before Hangouts on the web begins redirecting users to Chat.
Kanneganti sought to reassure Hangouts die-hards that the company has been making efforts to upgrade and improve Google Chat to cater to all.
“Moving to Google Chat opens up new and better ways to connect and collaborate,” he said, adding that users can edit Docs, Slides or Sheets with side-by-side editing, making it easier to collaborate and converse at the same time.
Google Chat also includes Spaces, a dedicated collaboration space. Gmail also has a new integrated view, which makes it easier to use Chat alongside the Gmail inbox, Spaces and Meet.
“We have big ambitions for the future of Chat, and over the coming months you’ll see even more features like direct calling, in-line threading in Spaces and the ability to share and view multiple images,” Kanneganti said.
“As we take this final step to bring remaining Hangouts users to Chat, we hope users will appreciate our continued investment in making Chat a powerful place to create and collaborate.”
Users who want to keep a copy of their Hangouts data are encouraged to use Google Takeout to download their data before November using instructions provided.
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