Google Hangouts for consumers will be shutting down in 2020, as per a report in 9to5Google, which quotes source familiar with the product’s internal roadmap. The move is not surprising given the app has not received any major update in terms of features for quite some time. Last year, Google removed SMS functionality.
The focus seems to be on Android Messages, which is a free texting app by Google. Earlier this year, it was reportedly rolled out for web, allowing users to send and receive text as well as RCS (Rich Communication Services) messages from their computers. Though RCS Chat is not live yet, reports suggest it will be made official in early 2019 or right before Hangouts shuts down.
Google Hangouts was launched as a replacement to Google’s messaging service, Google Talk (commonly referred to as Gchat). Google Talk, which was announced in 2015 to provide an instant messaging service between Gmail users, was officially shut down in June last year, forcing its users to move to Hangouts.
However, Hangouts hasn’t had quite a successful run in the mobile app world where WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and others have raced to the top. When Google launched its messaging app Allo in 2016, the question on everyone’s mind was what is the company going to do with Hangouts?
Following an announcement by Google in March 2017, Hangouts was split into two products: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. The focus with Hangouts Meet is on video conferences, while Hangouts Chat is more focused on instant messaging.