Yesterday a report surfaced online claiming that Google will be shutting down its Hangouts service. Today, Google’s Real Time Communications product lead Scott Johnston announced via Twitter that there is no such plan and the company has made no such decision. Instead, he assures that Hangouts users will be upgraded to Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.
Hey @hallstephenj, I run Hangouts and this is pretty shoddy reporting. No decisions made about when Hangouts will be shut down. Hangouts users will be upgraded to Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. Your source is severely misinformed. You can do better.
— Scott Johnston (@happyinwater) December 1, 2018
The report was first posted by 9to5Google. Since then the post has been updated with the Johnston’s claim. However, the folks there checked with a second source who collaborated with the original report that the company will indeed shut down its Hangouts communication service by 2020 and the decision has already been made.
However, Johnston’s comment may mean even after transitioning users to Chat and Meet, Hangouts, as we know today, will cease to exist. Also, these two services require G Suite accounts. It is still a mystery how Google account holders still using Hangouts will be transitioned to Chat and Meet. Hangout, as we know, isn’t going to stick much longer and users will hardly care much about new Chat and Meet features and likely won’t as it is now.
Google launched their Hangouts communication service in 2013 as a successor to Google Talk and was the default Android app for instant messaging, group chats and default chat service for communication within the Gmail desktop version. Though SMS support was introduced sometime after, it was shelved last year. It was also rebranded as Hangouts Meet, but many users instead moved on to other alternatives.
Google has a history and abandoning projects and left to bite the dust. Google Hangouts is affected by lower performance, bugs, lack of real development and the company is focused on the most recent ones: Allo and Duo. Next year, the company is launching ‘Chat’, it’s RCS program that will launch with Verizon.
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