It’s been a long time coming, but Google might finally put the kibosh on Hangouts in 2020. According to 9to5Google, citing sources familiar with Google’s roadmap, the legacy messaging app will shut down for consumers after next year. No specific timeframe was mentioned.
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise — in March 2017, Google announced Hangouts would split into two enterprise-focused apps: Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat. Ever since that announcement, the company began winding down support for the consumer version of Hangouts. It removed SMS support from the app in May 2017, urging users to instead use Android Messages. Hangouts also hasn’t received any notable updates for awhile, and many die hard users have been reporting bugs as of late.
Google isn’t giving up on consumer-facing chat apps though (let’s face it, it never will). Following the underwhelming push to make Google Allo catch on, the company announced its continued efforts to bring RCS features to as many carriers and smartphones as it can. The RCS standard is designed to improve messaging functionality that’s installed on smartphones by default. Down the line when RCS is widely adopted, you’ll be able to see read receipts, chat with multiple people without it being a horrible experience, and send media messages up to 10MB from your standard texting app.
If you’ve yet to wean yourself off Hangouts, now may be the time to do so. Feel free to check out our best messaging apps list if you need a replacement.