It looks as though Hangouts will join a growing list of Google chat products to bite the dust. After years of indications that such a move could be imminent, Google may finally be shutting down its Hangouts platform for consumers.
Citing a source “familiar with the product’s internal roadmap,” 9to5Google reported Friday that the end of Hangouts for consumers will arrive “sometime in 2020.” The site noted Google’s announcement last year of a shift to an enterprise focus with G Suite’s Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet as an early sign that such a decision was forthcoming. But there were other warning signs as well, according to 9to5Google:
Given Google’s abandonment of the app in terms of development and its presumed eventual death, many have already transitioned away from using it. But Hangouts is still the prominent chat option in Gmail on the web and the app remains on the Google Play Store to this day. Many recent reviews say that the app is showing signs of age, noting bugs and performance issues.
Google has indicated for years now that it planned to position Hangouts as a competitor to workplace chat apps like Slack. As 9to5Google noted, there hasn’t been any movement on development for the app in some time, and Google removed Hangouts’ support for SMS in May of last year.
As the Verge noted at the time, the move made sense considering the significant number of chat apps under the Google umbrella, including Google Duo, Android Messages, and Google Allo. There’s also Chat, its RCS product that is expected to launch with Verizon in 2019.
Given that the rumored death of Hangouts is still more than a year out, any devotees of the platform have ample time to make peace with its reported demise.
Update 12/3/18 10:40 a.m. ET: A spokesperson for Google issued the following statement to Gizmodo:
“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.”