From Gmail to Maps, and from Drive to YouTube, the sheer number of digital services that Google develops (and maintains) is quite astounding. However, the California-based technology major is also notorious for pulling the plug on many of its products quite often. Back in October this year, Google revealed it’ll be shutting down Google+, after the revelation of a major security breach about the same. Now, the company has decided to shut down Hangouts, the chat platform it introduced as a replacement for Google Talk back in 2013.
Citing a source familiar with the product’s internal roadmap, a report by 9to5Google has claimed that Google Hangouts will be shutting down for consumers sometime in 2020, the keyword here being consumers. Last year, Google had revamped Hangouts Chat as Hangouts Meeting, a conferencing product aimed at enterprises. The company had also introduced Hangouts Chat, a communication platform similar to Slack. As per 9to5Google, both these products will continue to be a part of the G Suite.
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While the decision to shut down the consumer version of Google Hangouts isn’t exactly surprising, the alternatives don’t really seem that good either. Google has a bunch of digital services/apps such as Allo and Duo, but none of the two haven’t gotten the traction that the company had hoped for. Also, back in April, Google had announced RCS (Rich Communication Services) format support for its Android Messages app, but that hasn’t arrived yet either.
In any case, now that Google is planning to discontinue Hangouts, it needs to have a viable alternative for the numerous consumers that use Hangouts on a regular basis.