Google has recently started shutting down the main functions of its Hangouts service, namely its messaging and voice calling features. If you’ve recently noticed that these features are no longer available to you or are limited in Hangouts, here’s what you need to know about how to transition from Hangouts to other communication services that will still allow you to stay in contact with your friends and family.
Google recently shut down the Google Voice integration that made voice calling in Hangouts possible, which means you can’t place phone calls from Hangouts anymore. At this time, you’ll need to set up and use a Google Voice account to make phone calls. If you’ve never used a Google Voice account before, check out our guide on how to set up a Voice account on your smartphone.
When you set up your new Voice account (or choose to use an existing one), you should bear in mind the following: Past messages from Hangouts should still appear in Voice, and you should be able to use your Voice number for voicemails, texts, and calls (including domestic and international calls made either via your mobile device or web browser). If desired, Google says you can export your Hangouts data until July 2021.
Along with the shutdown of voice calling in Hangouts, messaging has also been affected by Google’s recent changes to the platform. While you may still be able to send chat messages to other Google accounts via Hangouts — we tested this in April 2021, and for now, chatting with other Google accounts appears to still work in Hangouts — text messaging from Hangouts is a different story, and like voice calling, you’ll now need Google Voice to send a text message.
Eventually, however, Hangout’s remaining chat messaging functionality may also be on the chopping block in the future. According to 9to5Google, Google has already begun rolling out a preview version of Google Chat, a messaging app that appears to be a replacement for Hangouts messaging.
It’s possible that after all of the changes Hangouts is undergoing, you may just want to use a completely different service altogether for your messaging and calling needs. Here are a few of our guides to help you get started with using other services:
- Best messaging apps for Android and iOS
- How to send a text message from a computer
- What is WhatsApp?
- The best chat clients
- Best videoconferencing apps
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