It was recently reported that Google will be shutting down their Hangouts app in 2020, which was reported by 9to5Google that the communications platform, which includes a number of features including messaging, video chat, SMS and VOIP, would be coming to an end in two years’ time.
However, Google Real Time Communications product lead Scott Johnston dismissed these reports through Twitter. According to Johnston, Google made no decision to shut down Hangouts. Rather, users of the platform will be upgraded to Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. That is, if anyone actually uses Hangouts, considering it’s mostly been knocked out the park by the competition, particularly WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage.
The app has often been described as “abandoned”, “stagnant” and “dying” throughout it’s fairly short existence. But, obviously there must still be some active users out there, since it won’t be shutting down after all. So, was this a case of ‘Fake News’ reporting? Or simply that 9to5Google were misinformed about their own product under the very vast Google tree?
That’s seemingly the situation, as the tweet below from Scott Johnston immediately corrects 9to5Google without any delay, rectifying any confusion on the matter in the process.
Hey @hallstephenj, I run Hangouts and this is pretty shoddy reporting. No decisions made about when Hangouts will be shut down. Hangouts users will be upgraded to Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. Your source is severely misinformed. You can do better.
— Scott Johnston (@happyinwater) December 1, 2018
Johnston also criticised how the story on Hangouts was reported, describing it as “frustrating” as it “leaves the reader to jump to dramatic conclusions.”
“Hangouts users will be migrated to Chat and Meet” he continued. “So while that will result in the eventual shut down of Hangouts classic (as we now call it), it doesn’t imply we are ending support for the use case supported by the product: messaging and meetings.”
So many users of the Hangouts app are probably asking – what will be the big difference with Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet?According to reports, Hangout Meets gives businesses a simple and secure way of holding conference calls and video chats with both employees and outside participants, no matter the location or devices used.
However, Hangouts isn’t just used for enterprise purposes, as Johnston emphasised, so consumers will still be able to access the app (which we presume will be Hangouts Chat), just a “new and improved” version of it, though no one really knows what these improvements will be, since it hasn’t been released yet.
Despite all this, Google has been criticised for frequently abandoning their services as soon as their popularity declines and falls below the company’s expectations. If you look on Google’s Graveyard, you’ll find a whole list of failed projects, products and services that simply couldn’t live up to Google’s standards, a few examples being Google +, Google Buzz and Picasa.
So, will Hangouts eventually meet the same fate, or could it possibly reach the same heights of popularity as its competitors? Tell us what you think in the comments section down below.
Story by Emily Clark
Featured Photo Credit: AndroidPolice