As part of Google’s move to Chat as its primary messaging service, the company is officially shuttering its Hangouts platform. With the move to remote and hybrid work following the COVID-19 pandemic and companies largely moving to work-from-home models, the platform was simply too far behind competitors like Microsoft Teams and Slack to make a dent in the arena. Much like the company’s attempt at a social media platform in Google+, the Hangouts app was one of Google’s failures when it came to branching into other areas of the internet.
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Hangouts being folded into Google Chat
As Google states in its blog post, the move is being considered an “upgrade” by the company, with the previous video capabilities having been moved to Google Meet, and the messaging being moved to Chat. The company has recently had a history of being rather unorganized with how it handles its messaging platform, as evidenced by this tweet:
Google's brilliant messaging strategy:
2005: Google Talk
2011: Google+ Hangouts
2013: Google Hangouts
2016: Google Allo
2016: Google Duo
2017: Google Hangouts Meet
2018: Google Hangouts Chat
2021: Google Chat
— Peter Yang (@petergyang) June 28, 2022
That’s just a little bit of dysfunction there. To assist with the cleanup process, existing users (if there still are any) of Hangouts are being transitioned to the newer service automatically. The company claims that the service will be cleaner and more organized while still being housed within Gmail, but who knows how this attempt at a messaging service will actually pan out. Those still using the Chrome extension will be asked to move to either the web service or app, but the Hangouts platform will be online until November of this year according to Google.
The move on social media was predictably met with ridicule, with most users bringing up the company’s failed attempts at cohesively putting together a messaging app in the past:
Someone should tell Google that a backend replatforming doesn't always require a customer side rebranding.https://t.co/O2Rrwvv2MF
— Mikio Braun, forever stuck at 4488 er 94 followers (@mikiobraun) June 28, 2022
When Zoom is down and someone asks you to use Google Hangouts pic.twitter.com/pmieio4pmJ
— Vowel (@VowelHQ) June 21, 2022
There was an attempt to find some positive tweets about the move, but there simply were not any.
While most just lamented the company’s struggle with getting one of these platforms off the ground, a lot of users were simply apathetic to the move or nostalgic for a service they had not used in close to a decade. Either way, it remains to be seen how the company handles yet another foray into the space and tries to carve out a niche among those needing messaging services.
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