After yesterday’s rumours that Google would shutter Hangouts for consumers in 2020, it appears that Google has a product manager for Hangouts, and also, that reports of its demise may be premature.
Yesterday we reported that Hangouts would be closed in 2020, as did a number of other tech sites, and this volley of reporting prompted Google’s Scott Johnston to take to Twitter to set the record straight.
While his approach wasn’t (perhaps) all that well advised, he did give us some further information about where Hangouts is headed next:
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
In particular, Hangouts Classic (as today’s Hangouts is known internally) will be shut down eventually. However, with a migration to Hangouts Chat and Meet on the table, the platform will continue, and we understand that existing Hangouts chats and data will be maintained.
Although the current focus for Hangouts Chat and Meet is undoubtedly business-focused, Johnston spoke vaguely of plans to make these more consumer-facing in future.
With Hangouts still integrated into some of Google’s core products (e.g. on-demand video conferencing linked to Calendar events), it’s likely that consumers will still find a use for Hangouts going forward. However, given the neglect that Hangouts itself has experienced for a couple of years, one wonders how committed Google actually are to maintaining that core experience for rusted-on users.
As for Ausdroid, we initially used Hangouts quite extensively to network among ourselves, but it didn’t take long for us to ditch it and move to something far more capable. For us, it’s Telegram, others use Slack or Discord, and some others use WhatsApp.
Regardless of your choice, the reality is stark: Hangouts Classic – as Google now wants to call it – is garbage, and if it does eventually make way for better products, well that can’t happen soon enough.