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.
The platform has seen several major changes since its inception but Google has put its development on the backburner, instead focusing on its more recent services: Google Allo and Duo.
To recall, Google Hangouts came was released back in 2013 and saw an overhaul in 2017 in the form of business and enterprise-centric apps - Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet.
Since then, of course, Google has had a number of other messaging apps, and juggled them in somewhat confusing ways. Hangouts Chat offers group-chat functionality similar to Slack, Hangouts Meet video conferencing. Whether or not that holds up remains to be seen, and Google isn't officially saying anything about the app's future, but the writing has been on the wall since. forever?
According to a source familiar with Hangouts' roadmap (courtesy of 9To5Google), the service will be shutting down for good in 2020. As 9to5Google noted, there hasn't been any movement on development for the app in some time, and Google removed Hangouts' support for SMS in May of previous year.
Johnston doesn't seem to take issue with the idea that Hangouts Classic will be deprecated. "Hangouts users will be upgraded to Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet", he explains.