Google Hangouts – a closed messaging service that debuted as a Google+ feature in 2013 – is being replaced by Google Chat, the default messaging app for Google Workspace users. Google is removing Hangouts mobile apps from the Google Play Store and App Store, considering the transition to a new chat service is in its final stages. Android users who have downloaded the app in the past will still be able to see it in the list of installed apps, but the app will no longer appear in the search results of existing and new users.
According to a report from 9to5Google, the Hangouts app is listed on the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, preventing new users from downloading closed chat apps on iOS and Android devices. In November 2018, it was announced that Hangouts would be replaced by Google Chat. The company then began converting workspace users from Hangouts to Meet in October 2020.
Both the Google Play Store and App Store listings for the Hangouts app are no longer accessible, but users who have previously downloaded the app on their Android smartphone will be able to see it in the Google Play Store app by tapping on their profile photo, then selecting Manage apps and devices > Manage > Not installed.
Gadgets 360 was able to verify that both lists for Hangouts were no longer accessible in the App Store and Google Play Store, while the app was available for download on an Android phone where the app was previously installed. The app’s functionality doesn’t seem to be limited at the moment, so users who still have the Hangouts app on their iPhone and Android smartphones will be able to send messages to contacts until Google disables access.
9to5Google reports that Google is already transferring existing workspace enterprise accounts to Chat using Hangouts, and free accounts are expected to follow suit. Users who haven’t yet downloaded Google Chat on their smartphones or tablets have two options once the Hangouts app is deactivated – use the Gmail app that comes with integrated chat and meet support, or download the dedicated Google chat app to their devices.