Google Is Finally Killing Hangouts…in 2020 (Update: or not)

Posted on December 3, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Google with 33 Comments

Update: Google might not be (fully) killing Hangouts after all. Instead, it will be launching consumer versions of Hangouts Meet and Chat and eventually move users of the “classic” Hangouts to Hangouts Meet and Chat. A Google spokesperson sent us the following statement:

“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.” 

Original story follows.

Google will soon be killing Hangouts, the company’s infamous messaging app. 9to5Google reports that the company will be shutting down Hangouts in 2020.

The app, which has long been neglected by the company, still resides in the new Gmail. The mobile apps for the service, on the other hand, continue to show sign of age. Google will reportedly keep the Hangouts brand alive with enterprise-focused Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet apps available through G Suite.

Google has already tried a bunch of other messaging apps since Hangouts, and it almost became a running joke. The company still makes Allo, which never really took off, and it has recently started investing in RCS, with the new Chat/Android Messages app, which acts almost like Android’s iMessage.

With Google (hopefully) continuing to invest into RCS and Chat/Android Messages, it’s clear there is no need for Hangouts or even Allo, and the company taking the service down makes a lot of sense. I’m just not sure why it is waiting till 2020 to kill it off, though.

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Comments (33)

33 responses to “Google Is Finally Killing Hangouts…in 2020 (Update: or not)”

  1. VancouverNinja

    Classic Google can't let go of anything.

  2. madthinus

    Still miss GoogleTalk.

  3. dcdevito

    Android Messenger is fine and decent. But I switched to Signal, I can at least have private chat with a handful of folks (better than none I guess). It works well enough for SMS, so I'm finally just using ONE chat app. Android Messaging is a mess.

    One thing I miss on Signal is the ability to text from my PC. My Phone Companion doesn't seem to support it. (I'm referring to SMS from my Desktop, I already have the Signal Windows app, but obviously doesn't support SMS).

  4. locust infested orchard inc

    Frankly, Adoogle should stick to what they do best – shoving ads onto displays and data-harvesting – they simply cannot be beaten, for they are supreme champs in these two areas.

    Leave communication software, OS building, Office-esque application development to the experts who have been successfully writing code for almost 44 years, validated by their new found status as the World's most valued company by market capitalisation.

  5. lordbaal1

    Why do they always kill things?

    Like Microsoft, they have too many chat apps. All you need is one.

    Just make 2 versions of the same app, 1 free. And the other paid, that offer more options.

  6. karl_s

    WOW!!! From Rumour per the original article to fact in one report. Talk about incompetent. And now that the original article is updated to state Google denies the report.

    Think about this:

    Google updated Hangouts to well to show the business accounts to video conference up to 100 people. They also recently updated to add digger capabilities. Hangouts are here for a while on the business side

    It takes 1 line of code to to set a variable based on paid it free accounts.

    Other solutions have not been adopted and it costs more to have 2 teams maintainer separate code which does the same thing.

    Hangouts are here for a while still.

  7. wocowboy

    I guess people just don’t chat any more. All the one-on-one chat apps of yore, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, icq, Adium, iChat, and all the others I have forgotten have been eliminated, in favor of what? Regular text messaging? That seems to now be the only option people want for some reason. I really enjoyed logging onto my favorite chat app, seeing which of my friends was online and having a nice visit. There is no chat app right now where you can see if the person you want to communicate with is online or not, that is a function that I really miss. Now all that’s left is to send a text message, hope they are online and wait for a response. This is FAR less functionality than on the old apps, and a huge step backwards.

  8. MikeCerm

    Hangouts is how I receive Google Voice calls on my tablet, and Hangouts Dialer is required to make VoIP call with Google Voice. I hope it'll still be possible to do these things with Google Voice after Hangouts is gone.

  9. ivarh

    RCS does not have a snowflakes chances in hell when telcos's insist on only allowing it from approved handsets. That combined with the multitude of telco's branded firmware for android phones you have a situation where if I bring my note 9 from telstra here in Oz to any other carrier RCS does not work with the handset.... If google hopes to have any chance to making RCS a viable alternative to facebook messenger and apples imessages they have another thing coming....

  10. MikeGalos

    To paraphrase the top comment about Corel buying Parallels:

    I didn't realize that Hangouts was still in business.

  11. Jeff Jones

    You know, every since they rebranded it from Google Talk, the design and engineering has looked like one big experiment, never following the tried and true designs of all the best chat systems (including Google Talk). They basically killed it through their own incompetence and they should be embarrassed.

    The web versions of Allo and Messages is the most clunky thing I've ever seen and people with flip phones can't use it. They basically don't have anything to compare with hangouts that is cross platform and doesn't require a smartphone to be attached do they?

    In addition, as a G-Suite user it is nice to be able to chat with users in Gmail. If they are removing that they'll effectively kill the Hangout feature in G-Suite in my opinion.

    Google has been creating minor self inflicted injuries on themselves for a while, but I think canceling Hangouts might be the first domino that turns them into another IBM, 30 years from now.

  12. timothyhuber

    I was a big fan of Hangouts when I was on Project Fi, as I could seamlessly message and VOIP from my computer. Does FI still support this (for now)?

  13. JacobTheDev

    I'm still waiting for RCS on Google Fi ?

  14. Stooks

    "and it almost became a running joke"

    No it is a joke.

    This behavior from Google is exactly why I will not move over to Android or use any Google service seriously. You have no idea if it will be around in a year or if still around basically abandoned for the flavor of the month beta app/service.

    I know a bunch of people that loved Inbox and now have to go back to Gmail proper. Reader, Voice, Picassa....etc...etc....etc.

    Their digital content offerings are complete disaster. Youtube, Youtube Red, Youtube Gaming, Youtube Music, Youtube TV, Google Play Music, Google Play video.

    Are they trying to turn off consumers on purpose?

    • Jorge Garcia

      In reply to Stooks:

      They haven't turned me off. They know they need to consolidate and simplify things and they will get there eventually. They just have too many things going on such that sometimes even their own business interests compete. Their messaging focus has always been terrible...but now they're fixing it. They know, as we all have known, that they NEED to abandon Hangouts in order to compete with iMessage...and likewise they will NEED to abandon ChromeOS in a few years to compete with iOS on iPad. ChromeOS does not cut it because of the unfortunate way it integrates Android Apps, with separate file structures, is an impressive, but still lame hack and always will be. The reason I'm not worried is because I know that all the things people value about ChromeOS AND Android WILL transfer onto Project Fuchsia....because that is the whole point of them starting from scratch with a whole new OS.

      • skane2600

        In reply to JG1170:

        I don't think we really know what Fuchsia will become or if it will ever be released as a product. Right now it appears to be in the bright-eyed "it will do everything, everywhere" stage. Before it becomes a real product, it will likely find a narrower focus. I suspect it won't end up being both an RTOS for embedded systems and a phone and productivity OS. Of course, only time will tell.

        • Jorge Garcia

          In reply to skane2600:

          If they are serious about competing with Windows and MacOS AND iOS, which I believe they are, then they MUST release their new operating system within the next 4-5 years and it must credibly contain all the features of both Android and ChromeOS. Given the directions they have been pointing to recently, I find it likely that developing a marketable Fuchsia platform is job #1 at Mountain View. If they are not, they are crazy.

  15. MrKirbs

    What the hell is RCS

  16. Jacob Klein

    RCS deserves to be briefly defined, in this article. I had to look it up.

  17. JaseCutler

    Paul has brought up again and again how Microsoft has no way to reward the developers who stick with old products and fix bugs, and instead they get rewarded for new products. Google has this problem times a million.

    It's so unfortunate Google can't realize what a product Hangouts is. I can carry on a conversation on my phone, then in a web browser at work when I sign into my Gmail only, to a Chrome app on my personal laptop. It support multiple profiles. It literally does everything someone could want for continued conversations across all platforms. It's being offed... for what? Allo? Enhanced text messages? Such a loss.

    • Bats

      In reply to JaseCutler:

      Everything you just said, Google can do and redo in Messages. Now that VZW is totally committed to RCS, I can see Google transforming Messages to be like Allo, with Hangouts features.

      Allo is really Google's darling because of the technology they want to incorporate in it and the features that could complete with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. That had always been their goal. Hangouts could not do that. iMessage is nothing to Google. That's only for iPhone users. It shouldn't even be in the conversation. The reason Allo didn't work is because of the issues with SMS and having to download the App. Plus Hangouts users could not initially access the app via web. Again, with VZW on board with RCS, American users can have the best of both worlds (Allo and Hangouts). As a result, Google is finally getting what they want.

      • Stooks

        In reply to Bats:

        "iMessage is nothing to Google"

        Actually Google wished they had iMessage so badly. I know lots of iPhone users that will not leave simply because of iMessage. Google has tried and failed to create anything like it.

        • MikeCerm

          In reply to Stooks:

          Creating an iMessage-like service for Android would actually be really easy -- basically just integrate Allo into Messages so you can fall back to SMS for the people who don't use Allo without switching between apps, and then update the Google Play license terms to force all Android handset makers to make it the default SMS app. That would work, but Google has never tried to do it, and that's why they keep failing.

        • Simon Flynn

          In reply to Stooks:

          I find it strange how it can change so much between countries. I don't think iMessage is a big deal for anyone where I'm from in the UK. There and where I am now in Brazil it's all whatsapp. SMS/iMessage never became the primary service. Just the US?

      • Chris_Kez

        In reply to Bats:

        Isn't Allo tied to a phone number? What if you have multiple phones? Have they changed Allo to be tied just to your Google Account, with no requirement for a phone?

  18. gregsedwards

    It's always nice to see Google have their own Microsoft moment.

  19. nicholas_kathrein

    RCS seems / hopefully will be a 2019 push. Verizon has said in early 2019 it will support it and hopefully the rest will follow. Google will need RCS support on TMobile, Sprint, and US Cellular to make it work on Google Fi. At least to me that would be the only way it would work if it uses these networks for their service. I could be wrong and maybe Google just uses these companies to get the connection to the phone and Googles Servers handle all the servers.

  20. wunderbar

    hangouts is still far and away the best multi-platform, multi-device chat app. Nothing does it better. It works either on the web or through an app in literally every phone, computer, or tablet I own.

  21. dmaddogg

    Paul they didn't totally loose focus on Hangouts. They do have a nice material theme standalone site that works pretty well.

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