Google is finally pulling Hangouts off the App Store and Play Store: in the Apple store the direct link is no longer accessible and does not appear in the search results, while the Android app is still available if you use the direct link (at least in Italy, in the USA it doesn’t work anymore) but no longer appears in the search. It was a long-awaited measure now, despite the app having recently reached the enviable milestone of 5 billion downloads.
Hangouts it was one of the most important pieces of Google’s strategy regarding instant messaging, a market that has never been able to fully decipher. Hangouts started out as a chat on the Google Plus social network (another sore point), and in 2013 it became a service in its own right. Already in 2016, the company was trying to replace him – or rather alongside him – with Allo, which however was a colossal flop and was closed shortly after. In 2017 Google announced the change of course of the service towards the business world, with the division into two apps: Hangouts Chat (instant messenger) and Hangouts Meet (video conferencing).
It didn’t take long for the two apps to lose the Hangouts branding, and at the moment they’re simply known as Google Chat and Google Meet. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both have become free for all (Chat is integrated into Gmail). Through it all, Hangouts “Classic” remained available for use and download until recently. Effectively, for those who have still installed it, the app should continue to work, but every time you open it you have to close the window that invites you to go to Google Chat on Gmail, in fact. With the transition to the mainstream world of Chat, Google began pushing Spaces for the business / school world, which can be described as a competitor to Slack.
Whatever happens, the mythical Emoji in the shape of a “blob” Hangouts of the golden days (technically they were built into the operating system, but in the end Hangouts was the only service that used them) will never be forgotten. Did you like them?