A recent report by 9to5Google suggested that Google could soon shut shop for its Hangouts service by 2020. This has been deemed incorrect by Google Real Time Communications' Product Lead Scott Johnston on Twitter. Hangouts, in a sense, is not going away as users will be getting an upgrade to Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. Additionally, Johnston says that no decisions have been made about when Hangouts will be shut down.
In a reply to his tweet, Johnston also said that since Google Hangout users will be migrated to Chat and Meet, the current service will eventually be shut down. “It doesn't imply we are ending support for the use case supported by the product: messaging and meetings,” Johnston added. Hangouts Chat and Meet services are available only for G Suite enterprise users and it remains to be seen how the company will transition regular Google account holders that are using Hangouts. To recall, Hangouts was introduced by Google back in 2014 and it took over the company's previous messaging services like Talk and Messenger. In 2015, Google introduced a standalone website for the service, which negated the need for installation of any additional plugin.
2/ 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. — Scott Johnston (@happyinwater) December 1, 2018
Earlier this year, Google announced that it's Smart Reply feature will soon be rolled out for Hangouts. The feature generates automated replies by analysing the context of a conversation. Alongside the announcement, Google said that the Smart Reply feature powers more than 10 percent of email replies.
The news of Hangouts evolving into Meet and Chat comes just a couple of months after the company announced it's shutting down Google+ for consumers following security concerns. The Mountain View-based company found a bug that granted developers access to users’ Profile data, and the public Profile information of their friends. Additionally, it found limited engagement on the platform and as a result of these findings, the company has decided to shut down Google+ for consumers.