Google’s got some bad news for Gchat aficionados who’ve stuck to the service through thick and thin since 2005. It’s sending the chat platform to its grave and serving up Hangouts as a replacement.
Google actually began this process all the way back in 2013 when it introduced Google Hangouts. The latter was supposed to take Google Talk’s place, but the company allowed users to hang on to Gchat if they didn’t want to make the leap. This won’t be an option anymore after June 26.
Gchat enthusiasts are set to receive a prompt over the course of the coming weeks encouraging them to transfer to Hangouts. After June 26, they’ll be automatically transitioned to Hangouts unless contractual commitments apply. The Google Talk Android app is also set to stop functioning.
Google is trying to make it easier for people who miss the simplicity of Gchat by pointing out that there is a Dense Roster setting in Hangouts which looks visually similar to Talk. The brand is also making some big changes to Hangouts. The service won’t be able to send SMSes starting from May 22.
People will soon begin getting notifications about this, telling them to opt for another SMS app or download Android Messages. Google is assuring people that switching to a new tool won’t impact their message history. There are exceptions to this upheaval though, with the company noting that both Google Voice and Project Fi users can continue to send SMSes via Hangouts.
The final big shift concerns Google+ in Gmail. Google is going to kill off 2 legacy features which allow individuals to email Google+ profiles and access Google+ Circles. This will happen no earlier than April 24.