In late 2021, classic Hangouts will stop working for enterprise Workspace customers and only Google Chat will be available. Google is now beginning that process of deprecating the Hangouts app and website for free personal accounts with a warning and sign out.

As we were expecting, opening Hangouts for Android and iOS today shows a blue “Hangouts is being replaced by Google Chat” banner at the top:

Your conversations from the last year are already in Chat, and older conversations will be available later.

Learn more” takes you to a support document, while there’s a “Switch to Chat in Gmail” option. Tapping that button will sign you out of the Hangouts mobile app before opening Gmail — even if you have the standalone Google Chat app installed — as the company is focused on the unified (Gmail, Chat, Meet) experience.

In signing users out, they will no longer get notifications from Hangouts or be able to message with the app. This is a big step ahead of shutting down the legacy service by making sure nobody needs or uses it. However, it’s reversible for those that still want to use the classic Hangouts client by re-adding their Gmail account after opening the mobile application.

Meanwhile, hangouts.google.com throws up a similar “It’s time to switch to Google Chat” message. It takes you to the standalone web experience

Hangouts is going away soon, switch to Google Chat now to continue your Hangouts conversations with new features.

Google has yet to announce an end date for free accounts using classic Hangouts. On the enterprise side, the “mandatory upgrade” will occur in late 2021 when: 

All remaining classic Hangouts customers will be migrated to “Chat Preferred,” and we’ll fully replace classic Hangouts with Chat. 

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