Enjoy Hangouts while you can - because the feature may be ending come 2020.
9to5Google has reported that, according to an unnamed source familiar with the product’s internal roadmap, next year will be the last year Google Hangouts will be available to consumers. While it may be sad for some of us who began using the service when it launched in 2013, Hangouts has actually lost key features in recent years, such as SMS messaging, and the company stopped updating the app.
It technically will still be available as part of the G Suite’s Hangouts Chat for workplaces, it seems. But the 2020 end-date has been assigned for consumers, and it's given rise to speculation there will be a replacement in the form of the RCS chat feature in Android Messages that Google debuted in April. That feature hasn’t launched yet, but RCS messaging is expected to rollout in early 2019.
That would give Google around a year to make the switch from Hangouts for to RCS messaging (see our guide on that here). These are rumors at this point, but given Google’s announcement earlier this year, the RCS rollout coming next year, and this 2020 end-date, there is some plausibility to the thought that RCS chat on Android might be the reasoning behind cutting Google Hangouts for consumers.
The other bright-side to this story is that those of us who love using Google Hangouts - if there are any - can begin planning on a future life without it. After all, it's better to have hungout and lost, than never to have hungout at all.