Earlier this year, Google started to transition folks away from the Workspace version of Hangouts. That long, semi-messy process finished up only recently. Now, non-Workspace users are next.
Starting today, people using the free version of Google Hangouts will see prompts asking them to switch to Chat. The speed with which you’ll need to switch will vary depending on the platform. Here’s how that looks:
- Mobile apps: You will see a prompt starting today. Upon acknowledgment of the prompt, you will switch to Chat and the Hangouts app will stop working.
- Chrome extension: You will see a prompt today, but Hangouts will continue to work until October 2022. Google will suggest you install the Chat progressive web app (PWA) or use the web interface at chat.google.com.
- Hangouts in Gmail: The new Chat sidebar will roll out in July.
- Web interface: The usual hangouts.google.com site will work until October 2022.
Similarly, you have until October 2022 to export your data from Google Hangouts using the Google Takeout tool. You will lose your data if you don’t do it before then. This doesn’t apply to folks using the Hangouts mobile apps, though, as that data should automatically transfer to the Chat apps.
If you’re confused about the differences between Hangouts and Chat, Google has a helpful page for that. Also, Chat will soon get features Hangouts never had, including direct calling and the ability to send and receive multiple images at once.