Google Hangouts will be replaced by Google Chats later that year, Adding another entry to the ever-growing list of dead Google services. The shutdown is planned sometime in October, but Google is already starting the transition. While the process mostly takes place on Google’s side, the company warns users that some Hangouts messages and conversations aren’t automatically moved to Chats.
Google is notifying affected users prior to the permanent shutdown, but there is a way to protect your Google Hangouts data now by backing it up to your computer or smartphone. This ensures that all of your conversation history is stored securelyeven if it cannot be ported to Google Chats.
To do this, you must use the Google data export tool which however, you can download archives of almost any data associated with your Google account for this process you will You just need to download your Hangouts messages. Here’s how to do it:
- Open Google Takeout in your web browser. It works on desktop and mobile. (You can also find this menu in your Google account settings under Privacy > Data from apps and services you use > Download your data.)
- Sign in with your Google account when prompted.
- At the top of the takeout screen, click Deselect All. If you don’t do this, you will end up downloading your entire Google Account archive, which is a a lot of larger file.
- Scroll down the list and check the Google Hangouts box.
- Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page and select “Next step”.
- On the next screen you can change the settings of your archive file and its appearance delivered to you. In that case, you probably can stick to the default the settings, but our guide to Back up all your Google data contains more information about your options if you are curious
- When you are happy with the export settings, click Create Export.
- Wait a moment while your Hangouts data is collected. The timing depends on how big your archive is.
- Once the file is ready, the page will refresh and the download link will appear. (NAnnotation: YYou can also close this page and Google will email you the download link E-mail.) click “Download” to save the data on your device.
You’ve now safely backed up your Google Hangouts data – but there’s not really much you can do with it. It cannot be imported into Google Chats or other messaging apps. However, if you unzip the archive and then open the JSON files with any text editor (e.g. Notepad on Windows), at least you can read yours message history. Yes, It would be better if these conversations could be uploaded to chats, but it’s better than losing them forever.