Google Hangouts begun as Google Talk back when instant messaging apps were the thing. Like AOL Instant Messaging, users on the client could chat with each other, as long as they knew the other’s username. But Google had this idea of combining instant messaging, video chat, Google Voice, and voice over IP, all in a combined package. This was to be part of Google’s suite of apps that would allow them to be more diverse. Apps like Google+ (meant to challenge Facebook and Twitter), Duo, Allo, and more.
Like other Google Apps, Hangouts showed a lot of potential. The problem was getting people to adopt it, as Hangouts was only useful if the other party used it. And there lied the problem. Google could not get Hangouts to be adopted by the public, and now it is about to be put down.
Personally, I liked Hangouts, and still use it today. The chat feature that allowed me to continue from any of my devices made it a convenience. But I have to admit I understood why people didn’t bother wasting their time with the app. For one, Google didn’t even put all their weight behind it. Instead of making one messaging app, Google would launch messaging app after messaging app, all doing virtually the same thing. The other issue was that people could not use it to communicate with other platforms (ie iOS) messaging apps. So instead of adopting multiple messaging apps (and services), people chose to stick with the one that came with their phones.
In the coming months Hangouts users, like me, will have to find some place else to go. Google will be pushing their Meet and Chat apps for their business (aka Google Suite) customers. As for us “non suite (free) customers”, Google will be pushing for us to migrate to their other apps (Allo and Duo). But for those not liking Allo and Duo, you will likely have the ability to use the Hangouts Chat app in place of Hangouts after it has been shut down.
This inconvenience will only impact a small group of people. Most people use Facebook, Twitter, and IG to communicate with one another. But for those affected, there are other options out there. And now may be the time to begin the migration.