Google likes to support two almost identical products at the same time. It̵7;s a stupid “strategy” that makes people itch over services like Duo, Meet, Hangouts and Chat. But Google is on the right track and announces that Hangouts will be shut down in 2021 to be replaced by the more robust Google Chat for instant messaging service.
The creatively named chat service is Google’s answer to Slack and Microsoft Teams. It’s an instant messaging client with collaboration tools and security enhancements not available in the stripped-down Hangouts client, which hasn’t changed much since its 2013 launch. Chat is currently a paid service for
G Suite Google Workspace customers, but it will be free for all 2021.
Google Chat will inherit the Gmail integration, which is one of the great benefits of Hangouts. But if you use Hangouts with Google Fi, you’re pretty screwed! Hangouts support for Google Fi ends early next year, so stay tuned for calls and notifications from the Google Messages app. Our friends at Google say that messages will soon reach the browser, so maybe there is some silver lining here.
Chat also lacks Google Voice integration. If you use Hangouts with Google Voice, get ready to start using the dedicated Voice app. Other Hangouts features, such as group chats, end in November and December.
Well, it really does sound like all these apps are doing the same thing! Would you think that Hangouts is not the first instant message killed by Google? We can only hope that Google consolidates more of its dual services in the future.
Source: Google via The Verge