Will the classic Google Hangouts finally get the chop? Absolutely — and now we know a little more about when.
Last year, a report from 9to5Google claimed that the classic Google Hangouts app was set to shut down for consumers at some point in 2020, citing “a source familiar with the product’s internal roadmap.” The news wasn’t all that surprising. Google often gets ridiculed for its multitude of messaging apps, and the company recently announced that it would be turning its attention to Android Messages and integration with the new RCS “Chat” messaging standard. Not only that, but Google ceased development on Hangouts more than a year ago. Now, Google has clarified its timeline — it will begin retiring the classic Hangouts app in October 2019 for some G Suite users. Given that, we think it’s pretty likely that the classic Hangouts app will shut down for good in 2020.
According to Google, the classic Hangouts won’t be retired for customers until they’ve successfully migrated to Hangouts Chat and Meet.
When news first broke that the classic Hangouts app would be retired, Google quickly pushed back. The tech giant reached out to Digital Trends to dispel the confusion, claiming it had not set any specific end-of-life date for Hangouts.
“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,” a spokesperson told Digital Trends. “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.”
Given that Google has been bringing new features to other messaging apps, many customers have already moved away from Google Hangouts, but there is still a loyal following who prefer to stick with the older service. Safe to say, if you have not already transitioned away from Google Hangouts, then you will want to do so at some point in 2019.
It’s important to note that not everything about Hangouts will disappear. The Hangouts brand will still live on in G Suite’s Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet services, which are targeted at businesses and aimed at those who might otherwise be interested in services like Slack. Hopefully, this signals the start of a much more streamlined approach to messaging for Google. As mentioned, it has launched quite a few messaging services over the years, and many of them have fallen flat. After Hangouts, Google launched Allo — but considering Allo only allowed users to message other Allo users, it wasn’t really embraced.
Update on January 22, 2019: Google has clarified its timeline for shutting down Hangouts.