Hangouts disappearing/unkonwn contacts issue still awaits a fix

Mountain View giant Google’s communications platform Hangouts offers functionalities like text messaging, and voice/video calling. It’s the same service that the company will discontinue for G Suite customers this year October onward, by transitioning it with Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.

What’s good is this change is initially going to hit G Suite customers only. Google stated in the official announcement that Hangouts won’t be retiring for regular consumers at least until the transition is completed for G Suite customers. So regular users may continue using Hangouts during this year.

Google-Hangouts

While that’s good, there’s an issue that has been troubling both Hangouts Android/iOS app as well as Web client users for over a month now. Though the problem has been officially confirmed and is being worked on by the company, there’s still no ETA as to by when it would get resolved.

So what exactly is the problem in question?

Basically, Hangouts users have been chiming that many of their contacts have either disappeared out of nowhere or are now displayed as ‘Unknown.’ Here’s how some complainants word the problem behavior across the official Hangouts help forum:

all of my contacts disappeared, it now shows I have NO contacts therefore I can’t message anyone. Is hangouts having a technical problem?

Same here. This has been a couple of weeks. People are either gone or showing up as “Unknown.”
I’m on a Windows desktop. I hope they get this fixed.

Google-Hangouts-img
Google Hangouts app

In addition, some of the affected users say as soon as they delete the conversation with a person, the concerned individual’s contact disappears from their list. Meaning, it’s difficult to reach out that person as their contact information no longer exists.

Its happened to me also,I just clean conversation and then my contact disappeared,now I can’t write her anymore coz there is not her account to reach

Having the exact same issues. Friends that I’ve chatted with before are now impossible to find without pulling up an old chat invite in my emails. Even after that it says they are “unknown”.

As soon as the problem began to be highlighted by users across Hangouts’ official help forum, a product expert chimed in saying it’s a known issue. But they didn’t shed any clarity on what could be causing this problem.

Google-hangouts-unknown-contact-issue-official-confirmation1
Hangouts help product expert’s response

Then in the beginning of this month, another forums product expert added that the unknown contacts glitch in Hangouts got triggered by Google+’s shutdown. That’s why the contacts form Google+ are now showing as unknown, while other contacts from Google are unaffected.

Here’s how the product expert explained this:

This issue is about unknown person contacts that you contacted directly from G+, and now that G+ is gone, these people show as “unknown”. It is especially frustrating for group Hangouts.

For people that you know , you should see them in Hangouts by name, as they should be in your Google Contacts. You never started the Hangout conversation from G+ .

Google-hangouts-unknown-contact-issue-official-confirmation2
Hangouts help product expert’s response

Apart form that they also added that Google is still looking into the matter. Then last week again, they repeated the same.

Google-hangouts-unknown-contact-issue-official-confirmation
Hangouts help product expert’s response

For a quick refresher, Google+ was shutdown for consumer (personal) accounts on April 02. The official announcement suggested users to download their content like photos & videos before the service gets terminated.

On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted. You can download and save your content, just make sure to do so before April. Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.

But there was no particular mention of Google+ contacts, which as you can see has affected lots of Hangouts users. Until Google finds a way out of this, all Hangouts users can do is dig through their old chat invite in emails to pull out the concerned person’s contact to begin chatting again.

Cumbersome, but that’s how you can get back in touch with the person on Hangouts if you deleted the chat with them. Though even after that the contact will continue to be displayed as unknown.

P.S. For more Google-related news and stories, interested readers may head here.

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Dr. Aparajita Sharma

A budding entrepreneur by profession, and a psychologist by education. As a founding member of PiunikaWeb, I am nurturing this firstborn with my sharp-eyed expertise and even journalistic writing when needed.