Google is preparing to shut down Hangouts for consumers, though there's controversy over when that will happen and what alternative existing users will be migrated to.
According to 9to5Google, a source familiar with the product's internal roadmap said it would shut down sometime in 2020.
The reported move may not surprise many because the company has shifted its focus to other communication platforms.
Enjoy Hangouts while you can - because the feature may be ending come 2020. For instance, in 2017 it announced the addition of Hangouts Meet for enterprises. Is it past time for the app to go, or is Hangouts your go-to chat platform? Since Meet was launched sometime past year, it's clear that Google won't kill that off, which means Hangouts might still exist but only for organisations.
"As mentioned, Hangouts as a brand will live on with G Suite's Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet, the former meant to be a team communication app comparable to Slack, and the latter a video meetings platform", the report added.
Users complain about bugs and slow performance; it seems likely that Google won't address these concerns anymore if the rumor is true.
Google at this point has just gotten in the habit of shutting down services as soon as their popularity falls below the company's expectations, regardless of the people still using it. Google's reputation for creating services and not really knowing what they plan for them - the equivalent of throwing up application "thought bubbles" - can be really frustrating for users.
The shutting down was inevitable and delayed only because Allo performed poorly.