If You’re Still Using Google Hangouts, Time is Running Out to Switch

Google gets serious about closing Hangouts, booting out users signed in to the dedicated app.

It was last year that Google announced time was coming to an end for its Google Hangouts service – and with users of the app now being automatically booted out, it seems that the platform's days are now truly numbered.

While users have been aware of the Hangouts service closing for some time, there's been no strict deadline put it in place by Google, although it has taken every opportunity to recommend its users switch to Google Chat instead.

If you haven't already made the jump to Google Chat, it really is time to do so, although it's worth noting that Chat isn't the only messaging service in town. There are other options too.

Time to Hang Up on Hangouts

Google shuttering its Hangouts service shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone. After all, the company told us its plans way back in October, but until now, has been fairly quiet about exactly when Hangouts would be closed for good. This week however, we've seen some definite signs that its users are being forcibly pushed away.

As first reported by 9to5Google, users logging into Hangouts via Android and iOS recently have found that they have automatically been logged out of the app, with a message stating ‘Hangouts is going away soon, switch to Google Chat now to continue your Hangout conversations with new features'.

Don't panic if you're one of those who has been relying on Google Hangouts and find yourself booted out – you can log back in easily enough, although it really is time for you to make the move over to Google Chat.

What Should Google Hangout Users Do?

There's a simple answer to this question: move to Google Chat. It really is that straightforward, and honestly, you're going to have to move over to Chat whether you want to or not. Google will likely continue to remove features and support from Hangouts until even the most ardent hanger-on decides its time to leave. Earlier in the year, Google told Enterprise customers that a ‘mandatory upgrade' would be coming in late 2021, so better to move now than be caught off guard.

The good news is that a lot of the features that were originally in Hangouts are now implemented in Chat, you can sign straight in and find all your existing contacts in there ready to roll, and also, all previous messages that you had in Hangouts will be there too.

Google Chat is the company's answer to Slack, a messaging system that allows for communication between colleagues, either individually or in team chat rooms. There's every chance that in the past year or so your needs may have changed and you may be more interested in video calls with colleagues. That's where Google Meet comes in (previously known as Hangouts Meet).

Choosing the Right Platform for your Business

The last 18 months have been an epochal moment for business communication services, with the pandemic seeing more and more of us working from home, meaning that tech had to step in to bridge the physical gap between colleagues and clients.

With services like Zoom becoming a household name, and Microsoft Teams and Google Meet continually improving their services and offering more and more functionality, we've seen a bitter fight between all these platforms for our business, and the real winner is the customer. The drive to appeal to a huge new audience of video callers means that tech giants have been trying to outdo each other, offering more and more feature solutions and better security to win us over.

On the surface they may all seem to offer a similar product, but there are nuances that could make a big difference, from the pricing, to features and hardware compatibility. If you're unsure where to start, we've reviewed all the main platforms here, and can help you find the best match for your business.

0 out of 0
Price from
The lowest starting price for a paid plan. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
User rating
Average rating given by iOS and Android users in App Store and Google Play Store reviews
Best for
Pros
Cons

RingCentral

Microsoft Teams

GoTo Meeting

Zoom

Webex

Zoho Meeting

Lifesize

4.7
4.7
4.4
4.4
4.4
4.0
3.2

Security

Microsoft 365 users

Sound and video quality

Beginners

Larger businesses

Value

Users that need hardware

  • Lots of customizability
  • Affordable
  • Completely free
  • 300 participants
  • Integrates with Microsoft 365
  • High quality video and audio
  • Reliable and secure
  • Lower cost than competitors
  • Easy to use
  • Feature-rich free version available
  • Intuitive interface
  • Feature-rich software
  • High quality video
  • Easy setup
  • Low cost, flexible pricing
  • Browser functionality
  • SSL/128-bit AES encryption
  • 1080p video and HD audio,
  • Integrates with third-party apps
  • Good value
  • No analytics
  • Free – no single sign-on
  • No gallery view for guests
  • Steep learning curve
  • No free plan
  • Poor audio quality
  • Occasional bandwidth issues
  • Recording costs extra
  • Unsophisticated chat function
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Written by:
Jack is the Deputy Editor for Tech.co. He has over 15 years experience in publishing, having covered both consumer and business technology extensively, including both in print and online. Jack has also led on investigations on topical tech issues, from privacy to price gouging. He has a strong background in research-based content, working with organisations globally, and has also been a member of government advisory committees on tech matters.
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