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If You Use Google or Android, Prepare to Lose This Popular Feature

The tech giant announced this widely used app will be shut down in a few months.

Thanks to being the most successful search engine on the internet, Google is a household name. But the tech company has also grown since its early days to include a wide range of other products that people use every day, including everything from their popular email service and maps app to translation tools and a web browser. However, despite all the company has added to its long list of services, certain products have been scrapped over time. Now, Google has officially announced that it will be shutting down a popular service it's run for nearly a decade in a move that could also affect Android users. Read on to see which app will go offline for good this fall.

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Google has shut down hundreds of apps and services over the past two decades.

google search platform on computer

Large and influential tech companies regularly reassess their portfolios and consider which of their products are still worth maintaining. In Google's case, the tech giant has seen unmatched growth in everything from hardware to online tools that have become indispensable to people worldwide. But, over time, even some of the company's flashiest apps have been axed after they became obsolete, got replaced, or simply failed to take off.

As one of Google's most notable product misfires, Google+ was the company's first big foray into the social media space when it launched in 2011. However, slow user growth and noted design flaws led the company to officially fold the network in 2019. And after making headlines with its launch in 2013, Google Glass was touted as the future of wearable hardware that would revolutionize the way people interacted with the internet in the real world—until the product was scrapped two years later.

Hundreds of other add-ons, applets, services, and software under the company's purview have also come and gone over the years, including the popular mobile app YouTube Go, streaming service Google Play Music, highly hyped social networking tool Google Buzz, collaboration tool Google Wave, news aggregator Google Reader, and personalized homepage service Google, according to Business Insider. And now, another one of the company's popular products is set to join that list.

Google is getting rid of one of its popular free services in the coming months.

A woman using an Android smartphone while a male colleague watches over her shoulder

In a blog post from the company on June 27, Google announced that it would be shutting down its popular Hangouts messaging app. The company says the service will no longer be accessible as of November 2022.

The product was initially launched in 2013 as part of an upgrade to the previous Google Talk app, Ars Technica reports. After becoming the default messaging service for Android phones, the app saw over 5 billion downloads. But in 2018, the company announced it would replace Hangouts with new programs, removing it from its paying Workspace program in March 2022 before taking it offline for the public this fall.

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Users will now be asked to move to another messaging app.

google apps on phone screen
AP_FOOTAGE / Shutterstock

According to the announcement, Google will now start encouraging users to move their conversations to Google Chat. While the messaging app may only be taking over now, it was actually first launched in 2017 and has been advertised as the eventual replacement for Hangouts since 2019, tech news outlet 9to5Google reports. As of June 27, mobile users are being shown a message reading "It's time for Chat" that disables the original Hangouts app and forces a move over to the new standalone Chat app or to use Chat in the Gmail app. Those using Hangouts on their desktop browser will have until July before the upgrade messages start appearing.

Fortunately, Google says it will automatically migrate conversations over for most users. However, they warn that "some conversations or portions of conversations won't automatically migrate from Hangouts to Chat. We will email impacted users with more information around September 2022," per 9to5Google.

Google says that Chat offers even more useful features than Hangouts.

A young man using an Android phone in a coffee shop

Even though Google is sunsetting one of its most popular apps of all time, the company was clear that the new app will provide even more helpful features for users.

"We have big ambitions for the future of Chat, and over the coming months you'll see even more features like direct calling, in-line threading in Spaces, and the ability to share and view multiple images," the company wrote in its blog post. "As we take this final step to bring remaining Hangouts users to Chat, we hope users will appreciate our continued investment in making Chat a powerful place to create and collaborate."

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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