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Goodbye Hangouts

It’s finally time to say goodbye to Hangouts. On November 1, Hangouts on the web ( will start redirecting to Google Chat.

Hangouts hasn’t been available on mobile devices for months, and Hangouts video calling was replaced by Meet in 2020. Hangouts on the web was the last place it was available.

As I publish this, just after midnight Pacific time, Hangouts is still available, but that is likely just for a few hours longer.

I made a Goodbye Hangouts video, looking back at how Hangouts changed over the years, and how we got to where we are today.

I’m not going to repeat it here. Watch the video!

But I do have a few additional thoughts.
  • I think those of us who are fond of Hangouts, and will miss it, aren’t thinking about the Hangouts of the past few years, but rather Hangouts in its heyday (say 2013-2015).
  • Google+ Hangouts was social. It was designed for “Hangout Parties” and being able to connect with anyone who had a public Google+ Profile.
  • Hangouts video calling on desktop was ahead of its time, with games in video calls, AR effects, and Hangouts on Air live streaming. But access to those features required a Google+ Profile. And they were not available in the mobile app, even as smart phones became ubiquitous.
  • The cool Hangouts on Air (Concerts! Presidents! Sky diving with Google Glass!) were promoted and linked on Google+
  • The shift in the direction in 2015 of Google+, from being the social layer across Google to being just another social network, probably didn’t encourage Google to continue developing social features in Hangouts.
  • The shift to developing Hangouts for business use was kind of hard to get excited about. There wasn’t anything fun about it.
  • After Meet and Chat were announced in 2017, Hangouts was really neglected, even though Meet and Chat were only available to G Suite/Google Workspace until 2020. Gradually features like location sharing, SMS, phone calling, and being able to contact people by their Google profile were removed.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic may have been what finally pushed Google to make Meet and Chat available for everyone. And even then it has taken a couple of years for Hangouts to finally be shut down. So maybe instead COVID made the process take longer?  Maybe both? 
  • People complain about Google killing products, but in this case, Hangouts stuck around a lot longer than many tech pundits expected. Google waited until Chat and Meet were ready, and Hangouts conversations had migrated to Chat before the end.
  • With the merger of Google Meet meetings and Duo calling (which is now all called “Meet”), Google is down to three messaging options: Meet for video, Chat for chatting and collaborative spaces, and Messages for SMS and RCS (“chat features”). Meet and Chat are both available in Gmail, meaning that pretty much anyone with a Google account can use them without installing any new app or having to visit a different site.
I’m sad Hangouts is finally gone, but it was long past time.

More information about Hangouts

Here are the sources of information I used in the video. It also included screenshots from my archives.