If you’re still using Google Hangouts, you should start looking for an alternative over the coming months. According to a source who’s familiar with the Hangouts internal roadmap, Google is planning on pulling to plug on the messaging platform sometime in 2020. The service hasn’t received any updates in more than a year and Google itself has already mentioned that Hangouts would be repurposed as an enterprise messaging service for its G Suite customers as Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.
While Google doesn’t have a direct replacement for Hangouts, the planned shutdown of the platform isn’t surprising. For the past few years, Google has been leading the charge on RCS which is the replacement for MMS service that’s offered by nearly every service provider around the globe. Android Messages is likely what Google plans to use as its direct Hangouts replacement once the new Chat feature which will allow many of the same features that are built into Hangouts and allow you to send and receive messages on your phone and computer.
Hangouts was never the perfect chat service, but it did become the default platform for millions who relied heavily on Android and Gmail since the service was built into Gmail on the web. While I personally still use Hangouts as my main messaging platform to communicate with friends, family and co-workers, it may finally be time to find a replacement messaging service. Most other platforms have evolved way beyond what Hangouts has to offer, but it’ll be hard living with an alternative service which doesn’t allow you to search through years of archived messages or quickly find images which were sent to you and automatically stored in Google Photos.