Google is finally going to close out Hangouts sometime in 2021
Over a year ago, Google announced it would retire its classic Hangouts messaging service. Today, we received some more information on how and when Google will close out Hangouts, and how it plans to replace many of its features with Google Chat.
Hangouts users will transition to the free Google Chat service sometime in 2021. When that happens, Google will assist Hangouts users by moving all their past conversations, contacts, and saved history to Chat. Specific information on when that will happen next year will be revealed at a later time.
Google Chat does provide some benefits over Hangouts. Chat lets you send messages to an inbox, as well as use emoji reactions and suggested replies. There will also be a faster search experience.
Google will also shutter Hangouts from the Google Fi experience sometime in early 2021. The company recommends Fi users switch over to its Messages app for SMS and voice calls going forward. Fi users will get more specific guidance on the transition from Hangouts to Messages later in October. Google also plans to remove Google Voice support in Hangouts sometime in early 2021.
Hangouts users are also losing the ability to call regular phone numbers. This feature is being retired due to changes in EU and US telecom regulations. Refunds will be issued to users with remaining calling credits.