Gadgets & apps

This article was published on June 28, 2022

Google kills Hangouts — but its dreams of Gmail dethroning Slack feel far away

Users will need to move to Chat


Google kills Hangouts — but its dreams of Gmail dethroning Slack feel far away
Ioanna Lykiardopoulou
Story by

Ioanna Lykiardopoulou

Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives. Ioanna is a writer at SHIFT. She likes the transition from old to modern, and she's all about shifting perspectives.

Google shut down Hangouts for Workspace in February, but that’s not enough for the search giant: it’s now killing the mobile Hangouts app as well.

In a recent blogpost, the tech behemoth announced that it’ll bid farewell to the feature in November 2022. People still using Hangouts are urged to switch to the Chat app or Chat in Gmail.

Google kills Hangouts
Credit: Google

As for Hangouts users on the web? Well, Google won’t start nagging for you to switch until July.

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The company will automatically transfer your existing conversations to Chat. But just in case, it encourages users to download their data via Google Takeout before Hangouts stops being available.

Clearly, the transition from Hangouts to Chat is a forced one — and it’s all part of Google’s strategy to mold Gmail into something resembling a Slack competitor.

Over the past few years, Gmail has been redesigned to integrate Inbox, Spaces, Meet, and Chat. With the new changes, users are able to do side-by-side editing in Docs, Slides, or Sheets, all while continuing their conversations.

Google kills Hangouts
Credit: Google

At first glance, the ability to email, chat, edit documents, and hold meetings all in one place seems to beat the functionality of ol’ poor Slack — but it’s not that simple.

As someone who spends hours in Gmail weekly, I always appreciate added functionality. But I’m not sure I want all of Google’s services to encroach upon my email if I don’t need them.

While Gmail’s deep integration aims to make everything simpler, the interface often feels cluttered — not to mention how overwhelming simultaneous notifications from all different apps are.

What’s wrong with an email app being just for email?

For me, departmentalizing workspace communication and collaboration tools is crucial.

That’s why I’ve always been a fan of Slack. The app allows me to communicate with my team without external distractions or responding to emails I simply don’t want to open.

Slack’s success is based on how it’s replaced email in the workplace. And I don’t see how Google will dethrone it by adding in more and more functionality and clutter.

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