The days of Google Hangouts for consumers may be coming to an end in 2020, according to a report from 9to5Google today. Hangouts has been suffering from an identity crisis since Google launched it as a replacement for Gchat in 2013, and it’s actually been losing features in recent years as the company stopped updating the app and took away SMS messaging. That change was part of Google’s new focus for Hangouts, which will stay safe for now as a workplace communication tool in the form of G Suite’s Hangouts Chat, as well as video conferencing platform Hangouts Meet.
Google hinted at “giving up on having its own consumer messaging app” back in April, when it announced a new RCS Chat feature within Android Messages. Chat hasn’t officially launched yet, as the timing is up to each carrier, but reports of support for RCS messaging coming in early 2019 fit the timing for Hangouts shutting down in 2020.
Still, it doesn’t bode well for people who primarily use Hangouts within Gmail, or use it to communicate with their kids or people who don’t have cell phones. There are still a lot of details up in the air right now, so we’ve reached out to Google for comment and will update if we hear back.
Update, December 3rd, 2:42pm ET: A Google spokesperson commented, “In March 2017, we announced plans to evolve classic Hangouts to focus on two experiences that help bring teams together: Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. Both Chat and Meet are available today for G Suite customers and will be made available for consumer users, too. We have not announced an official timeline for transitioning users from classic Hangouts to Chat and Meet. We are fully committed to supporting classic Hangouts users until everyone is successfully migrated to Chat and Meet.”
Date: December 5, 2018
Source: The Verge