Google has announced that famed messaging service Gtalk will cease to function as of 16 February, with users encouraged to join Hangouts.

Google To Replace Gtalk With Hangouts On February 16

Gtalk features will be integrated into Hangouts on all major platforms. Android users were forced to switch to Hangouts back in May 2013, and iOS users did not hold on much longer. Now comes the final death knell for Gtalk, with desktop users being informed that their beloved service will no longer exist.

A long time coming

Although the move should not be that much of a surprise, there are still those users who want to hang on to the simplicity of Gtalk. However the writing was on the wall when Google ended security support for the desktop app. Further proof of its impending demise came in the shape of last year’s announcement that the app would work for around two more months before ceasing to function.

Some users have reported receiving system messages this week. “Google Talk app for Windows will stop working on Feb 16 2015. It is replaced by the new Hangouts Chrome app,” they read.

Hoping for a smooth transition

Google must be aware of the affection that many users have for Gtalk, and has taken steps to make the changeover easier. One measure is the possibility of switching to Hangouts without being forced to change your whole email interface; only the chat panel on the left hand side of your screen will change.

Other novelties include a transparent contact list, which contrasts with the dark Gtalk theme. The green dot which tells you which of your contacts are online will remain, although nothing will appear next to the names of offline users. Two tabs at the bottom of the screen allow you to switch between contacts you have chatted with before, and all of the contacts in your address book.

Long-term fans of Gtalk will probably not appreciate the demise of the faithful app, but at least Google has attempted to make the transition as painless as possible.