Google Hangouts is due to place its second foot in the grave, and the new Google Chat has been cleaning house when it comes to the mess that its predecessor has made. Google Fi subscribers who were receiving their SMS messages via Hangouts were told in October that they would no longer be able to do in early 2021 – which is basically now. Interestingly enough, they have now decided that the clock on this would continue to tick for a while longer. Google Fi support in classic Hangouts is being extended until March 2021.
The official Google Support page for Fi now lists March as the final month that its users will be able to send or receive text messages and make or receive voice calls and voicemail via Hangouts. This means that if you fall under this category, you have a few more months to switch over to Google Messages for these things.
Google Messages now lets you access Fi features in-app and via the web without the need for QR code scanning, and even when your phone is off, so it may seem as though there is little reason not to move over. Upon digging a bit further though, you’ll find that enabling Fi features in Google Messages will disable RCS chat features, which, to me, makes little to no sense.
You can transfer your SMS and MMS data from Hangouts to Google Messages up until September 30, 2021, but if you’re not a fan of the latter service, you can use Google Takeout to grab a copy of these for safekeeping, even though it really won’t be functional. Google probably extended the shutdown date for Fi support in the app because users simply aren’t switching over fast enough – something I can’t really blame them for. Perhaps they ought to enable RCS and finally roll out conversation categories and message scheduling to Fi subscribers before taking Old Yeller out back.