Google Hangouts — the discontinued messaging service that debuted in 2013 as a Google+ feature — is being replaced by Google Chat, the default messaging app for Google Workspace users. Considering that the transition to the new chat service is in its final phase, Google is removing the Hangouts mobile apps from the Google Play store and the App Store. Android users who have downloaded the app in the past will still be able to view it in the list of apps they have installed, but the app no longer shows up in search results for existing and new users.
According to a report by 9to5Google, the Hangouts app has been delisted from the Google Play store as well as Apple’s App Store, preventing new users from downloading the discontinued chat app on iOS and Android devices. In November 2018, it was reported that that Hangouts would be replaced by Google Chat. The company then began transitioning 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 downloaded the app to their Android smartphones in the past will be able to view it in the Google Play store app by tapping on their profile photo, then selecting Manage apps and device > Manage > Not Installed.
Gadgets 360 was able to verify that both listings for Hangouts were no longer accessible on the App Store and the Google Play Store, while the app was available to download on an Android phone that previously had the app installed. Functionality for the app does not appear to be restricted for the time being, so users who still have the Hangouts app on their iPhone and Android smartphones will likely be able to message contacts until access is disabled by Google.
Google is already moving existing Workspace enterprise accounts using Hangouts to Chat, and free accounts are expected to follow suit, according to the 9to5Google report. Users who have not yet downloaded Google Chat on their smartphone or tablet have two options once the Hangouts app is disabled — use the Gmail app which comes with integrated Chat and Meet support, or download the dedicated Google Chat app on their devices.