You may already know that Google Hangouts will end for G Suite users in October. The messaging service will also be discontinued for general users later, but it seems the Hangouts support team has already lost interest in fixing issues faced by users. The number of issues with Hangouts has grown in recent months, and users now are reporting a video download issue with Hangouts.
Video download issue with Hangouts
Since the termination of Google+, many users have started complaining about various issues with Hangouts, such as contacts disappearing or showing as “Unknown.” Although these issues are still awaiting a fix, tech site PiunikaWeb spotted one more problem that Hangouts users have been complaining about for the past few months.
The issue is being raised by Hangouts Android users, who say they are unable to download videos. Some also say the downloaded video does not show in the gallery, and when trying to access the video from the Downloads folder, the file gives an error.
“Can’t download video from hangouts application, as before. Everytime [sic] only “download media” select was enough, and video in mp4 format was downloaded. Now only small file is downloaded and not possible to play,” one user said Google’s product forum.
This video download issue with Hangouts reportedly started after the February update. According to affected users, Hangouts is downloading the thumbnails and not the actual video files.
“Hangouts seems to be downloading the preview picture only but calling it a video. (Rename the downloaded file extension from mp4 to jpg and you’ll see what I mean) Your phone expects the video but gets confused because the file is actually a JPG picture file,” a user said.
Affected users have tried the usual troubleshooting tricks, such as clearing the cache, restarting Hangouts, updating to the latest version and more, but nothing seems to be helping.
Try these workarounds
As of now, there is no comment from Google or the Hangouts support team on the issue. However in April, one expert stated on the forum that the concerned team was looking into the issue, and affected users should continue to provide feedback. Then last month, the same expert stated that the issue has been assigned to the appropriate team, but the person gave no definite timeline on when the issue will be fixed.
“The inability to download inside the Android Hangouts app has been reported to Hangouts, but I don’t know when there may be a fix,” the expert said.
Until the video download issue with Hangouts is fixed, they suggest using the desktop client to download videos. Meanwhile, some users came up with their own workarounds.
One user said they were able to download a video on an older phone (S5), and from there, they forwarded it via an email to the newer phone (Galaxy S9).
Another user came up with a bit longer workaround, suggesting downloading the video off Hangouts chat, and then sending it “to myself in FB messenger, go to my phone,..download the video from messenger, then I’m FINALLY able to add it to a different hangouts chat.”
The same user came up with another “less complicated” workaround involving Google Photos. The person said clicking a video you want to share creates an album and a link, which can easily be shared in Hangouts. Videos shared via this link can be downloaded from Hangouts. There is also an option for users who just want to create a shareable link and not an album.
Goodbye to Hangouts and Allo
Earlier this year, Google announced that its Hangouts service (chat and video conferencing) will shut down for G Suite customers in October. The app will be replaced by Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. Although this is not confirmed, reports suggest Hangouts will shut down for all users in 2020.
For G Suite users, Chat was scheduled to be made available on web and mobile devices in April. Between April and September, several features from Hangouts, such as Google Voice calls and chatting with external users, Gmail integration and more, were expected to be migrated to Chat.
Google shut down one other chat services this year, which was Allo. The chat service debuted in 2016 and failed to gain popularity among users. Google retired Allo in March.