Dec 2nd, 2018

A few days back, news broke that Google plans to shut down Hangouts sometime in 2020. While Google typically doesn’t comment on rumors, Scott Johnston (Hangouts product lead) took to Twitter to clear the air. Johnston iterated that Hangouts doesn’t yet have an end date, but noted that Hangouts classic (that’s what Google is calling Hangouts internally) users will be migrated to Hangouts Chat and Meet before the product is shut down. From there, Johnston went on a short rant with four additional Tweets to defend Hangouts Chat and its appeal beyond the enterprise realm.

Phandroid’s Take

While we appreciate Scott Johnston jumping in to add some additional context to the conversation, it does look like Google is planning to pull the plug on Hangouts classic. This is not at all surprising given the lack of attention the service has gotten over the past year or so. Transitioning users to Hangouts Chat and Meet may be a good alternative, but the general public might be better served if Google gave them an easy way to transition to Android Messages and find a way to integrate that service directly into Gmail.

I have used Hangouts Chat quite a bit with a few different G Suite accounts. The service is quite capable and a step up when compared to Hangouts classic, but it lacks the appeal and that bit of flare that you get with consumer-focused messaging products like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and even Google’s own Allo. For the sake of simplicity, I think Google needs to draw a hard line between its consumer and enterprise messaging platforms to that they can deliver the features which will make each service truly shine.

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