Google likes screwing with our lives by killing apps we use each and every day. Think Inbox and Google Reader, those types of apps. Google pushes them as the next great thing, a number of us move everything we do over to them, and then Google sunsets them at the worst possible time. It sucks and we try to make the best of it, but I’m not sure I’m ready for the death of one in particular: Hangouts.
According to a report from 9to5Google, Google plans to shut down Hangouts in 2020. F*ck. That gives you at least a year to continue using Google’s green leaky tank of old buginess before deciding which app you’ll switch your messaging world to.
The report cites a source “familiar with the product’s internal roadmap,” and nothing has been made official by Google. But look, Hangouts for consumers basically got the axe back in October 2016 when Google stopped forcing companies to bundle it with devices. They then cut out SMS from it, stopped introducing any new features, and began pushing an enterprise version called Hangouts Chat, that I’m sure 6 people use.
Hangouts was replaced on the consumer side by Allo, which is already dead. Now, Google probably wants everyone to jump over to Android Messages, their default text app, to get ready for RCS should that ever arrive widely. Maybe by 2020 it will?
For me, I’m not sure what the hell I’m going to do. Hangouts works for me because I’ve used it since the day it was introduced, had my family adopt it, and am not sure a comparable alternative exists.
You ready for Hangouts to join our friend Inbox?
Update #2: A Google spokesperson reached out with the following statement, essentially confirming that one day in the future, classic Hangouts will indeed go away, but not until all users have been successfully migrated over to either Hangouts Chat or Hangouts Meet. There is no timeframe for this, but some day it will happen.
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.”
UPDATE: Google Hangouts boss Scott Johnston responded to this report, calling it “shoddy reporting,” which seems unnecessarily harsh. He then tried to explain that thought, suggesting that if anything, current Hangouts consumer (“classic”) users will be “migrated” over to Hangouts Chat and Meet. He did basically confirm that the classic Hangouts will go away at some point, though, so yeah.
2/ So while that will result in the eventual shut down of Hangouts classic (as we now call it), it doesn't imply we are ending support for the use case supported by the product: messaging and meetings.
— Scott Johnston (@happyinwater) December 1, 2018