While Google has stated many times that it has no plans to shut down its Hangouts messaging service, it has decided to end support for its third-party developer tools. The company has quietly updated its FAQ for the Google Hangouts API, stating that no new apps will be allow to access those tools.

See also:

Best texting apps and SMS apps for Android

April 17, 2017

In addition, most of the existing apps that are currently using the Google Hangouts API will no longer work after April 25. There will be a few exceptions, which will include Google’s own Hangouts on Air broadcasting tools like Toolbox, Control Room, and Cameraman, along with business and enterprise oriented apps like Slack that integrate with the API. Finally, apps that support dialing into a call like DialPad and RingCentral will also be allowed to use the API after the expiration date.

In 2016, Google launched new messaging apps like Allo and Duo, and the company has now begun pre-installing Duo on new Android devices, replacing Hangouts. However, both Duo and Allo are currently mobile-only apps, while Hangouts also has PC desktop support, along with deep integrations with other services like Gmail and Google Docs. That makes Hangouts better for its many business and enterprise customers, which Google still wants to support.

John Callaham
John was a newspaper reporter before becoming a technology and video/PC gaming writer in 2000. He lives in Greer, SC with his wife and five cats.
  • philnolan3d

    Why Google? Why do you take away something that works and people love, then replace it with something nobody wants?

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    • paxmos

      Nothing new

    • MAS Googler

      Because Hangouts is now their enterprise solution. The general consumer public didn’t take to Hangouts, but small/medium size businesses, as well as enterprise employed the Conference Video Call & Hangouts on Air services.

      So they’re streamlining the services where it makes sense, and where the usage is.

      Hangouts was a bunch of different services all lumped together, which the public generally ignored.

      So, it’s now focusing & streamlining on business uses

      • Gregory Muir

        But they are crippling the old app before the new ones are feature complete. It’s lunacy.

    • renGek

      Oh I don’t love hangouts in any way shape or form. But it’s the only one that properly handles google voice #s

      • Gregory Muir

        Because, they are sadists.

  • Daggett Beaver |dBz|

    Banks are changing their signs to read:

    TIME
    TEMPERATURE
    LATEST GOOGLE PROJECT ABANDONED

    They supposedly hire the best and brightest, but they can’t seem to make anything that’s good enough to keep. I love Android, and I’ll stick with it for now, but dang, those suckers at Google can’t do anything right but search and ads.

    • And I’m not sure about search. Generally I like what Google does (though I hate how slow and simplistic they do it), but they don’t do search anywhere well except maybe the web (for example a play store search is always frustrating unless its a really simple one).

      I’m starting the wonder if web searches look good in spite of their algorithms… Given the large number of web pages, if it misses half the relevant ones then there are generally still a lot of good matches. I’ve also seen perfectly simple matches fail to match against an unchanged web page.

    • M3EEKS

      Google search results are like Yahoo 1998 anymore. They don’t even do that well anymore

    • Hhotelconsult

      It is called planned obsolescence. I don’t like it because I love the desktop to mobile simplicity, but it is to bury things while innovating. There are missteps, and if allo/duo isn’t desktop eventually then this is a huge one. But people misunderstand the business mentality here, (especially with free products)…. Otherwise IBM would still have an entire division supporting typewriters, and Nokia would be supporting their first flip phone. It is not tenable.

  • pgp

    It’s frustrating. I will keep using Hangouts as long as it works (because it offers the best audio quality in voice calls), but will not replace my IM app yet another time, especially because nobody knows how long (years? months?) the current Allo and Duo are going to be supported before Google comes up with yet another replacement…

    • MAS Googler

      Hangouts isn’t leaving.
      It’s focusing on business use cases, which is different than all the consumer use cases that don’t work for business (silly stickers, emojis, animations, etc).

      Businesses and consumers have different needs. It makes sense to streamline and separate the apps & services they use.

      • Gregory Muir

        That may be their reasoning but that doesn’t make it correct.

      • Diskus1

        I’m a consumer, as well as everyone I chat with in Hangouts. We don’t have business needs, we have consumer needs. Your logic fails.

  • Frank

    That’s BS! How hard would it be to simply develop and evolve the good old Hangouts app everyone already has on his device, rather than spinning a brand new app (or two) which 90% do the same things Hangouts does?
    Poor decision Google…poor decision!

    • MAS Googler

      Because it makes more sense to have a focused business solution, separate from the consumer focused apps.

      Businesses need different implementation. They don’t need silly stickers, emojis, and other issues inside a business focused communication service.

      This way Allo & duo can focus on consumer needs, while Hangouts meets the needs of business. Which are completely different.

      • “Businesses need different implementation. They don’t need silly stickers, emojis, and other issues inside a business focused communication service.”

        Tell that to slack.

  • Sumitro Bhaumik

    All this makes the customer extremely confused. What is the exact purpose of having 3 communication apps? Had there been a clear demarcation between the use cases, people would have no issues.

    • MAS Googler

      Hangouts is being focused on enterprise.
      So all the silly stickers, emojis, and animations that don’t mesh well with a serious business application are now in a consumer facing app (Allo).

      While serious business needs will be the focus of Hangouts.

  • If they put google chat into Allo along with SMS support I am all for using Allo and Duo, although i’d prefer Allo and Duo be one app !!

    • paxmos

      That would be too complicated for googel

  • Joe

    I will be looking for an alternative application to continuum to use my Google voice number.

  • Jack Stasney

    Hangouts problem is that it works! I know this sounds weird, but computer illiterate people simply aren’t capable of grasping all this app can do. Trust me I’ve tried explaining this app for years. Only to see people’s eyes glass over. Fast forward to today. How many people are SMS texting with Facebook Messenger, and probably don’t even know it. The masses are a wierd thing. A wise man once told me “The great thing about your new app is that it’s very configurable. The worst thing about your new app is that it’s very configurable.” Only wish I had the ability to stop what Google is doing to it.

  • Jack Stasney

    Anybody know if this will affect Google Voice numbers forwarded to your phone?

    • Duder12

      Why would it?

  • Charles Sweeney

    I don’t like the fact that when using Allo the receiver that almost never has it is sent a message and link to download the app. So a simple message from Allo about what time are we meeting turns into a Q&A about what’s Allo? Why do I need to install it? What does it do? Oh so I can’t do that? But my app does that so why would I use this? * an hour later I just throw my hands up and go back to Hangouts/Textra/Stock app/FBMsgr or whatever app that already is main stream and just works. Poor Hangouts…I will miss you.

    • Duder12

      Hangouts isn’t going anywhere. You are just being dramatic

  • Patrick

    They couldn’t beat FB Messenger so they panic and become disjointed..maybe hangouts would have had a chance with a little PR help, like others I tried but it really needed a push from them to get more people familiar with it to overtake the comfort zone of SMS. I really wish SMS would die but there’s no end in sight.

    • MAS Googler

      Businesses and enterprise use hangouts more than the general public.

      So it makes sense to streamline Hangouts for serious business needs. Then focus all the silly consumer needs into a consumer app (Allo gets all the focus for stickers, animation, etc)

      • Patrick

        It’s a messaging app called ‘hangouts’..touting it as a business app is a stretch.

        • Duder12

          It is what it is

          • Diskus1

            It’s the same app it was 12 months ago when it was a consumer app pre-installed on every Android phone on earth…

      • uniquename72

        How many times are you going to spam this thread with the same irrelevant comment? Of 36 comments here, 6 are you spouting off about enterprise solutions, which has nothing at all to do with Google ending API support.

        • Duder12

          He’s correcting the idiots that keep saying hangouts is going away.

          He’s not spamming. It’s the whining idiots that aren’t reading the article before commenting that are spamming.

      • Diskus1

        “Businesses and enterprise use hangouts more than the general public.”

        Got a source for that?

        I highly doubt it. I only know consumers using Hangouts. All business I have met with use Skype.

  • Danny Peck

    Is there a list of the most popular affected apps someplace?

  • Fu**ing Google…
    Always trying the square peg/round hole approach to user adoption.

    What will happen to the years… Literal years of Hangouts conversation history and shared photos with family members… people that have passed away? Some of us treasure those moments.

    Hangouts was never ideal, but having Gvoice, chat, video, group calls, photo sharing all in one place… That will always be better than two apps no one asked for.

    • MAS Googler

      You realize they aren’t closing Hangouts?

      It’s being focused on business.

      Consumer facing apps get animations, emojis, and silly stickers…
      Things that don’t mesh well for a serious enterprise communication application.

      It’s focus is changing, and being streamlined.

      • TJ Mills

        So, as a consumer can I still use hangouts? If not it is essentially closed for us.

        • Ryan Radford

          That’s correct! Basically any app that is not owned by google can’t use the API.

          This will not affect the google voice integration that hangouts has.

      • I actually did not realize that.
        The article along with comments (and general tech news coverage) has this news suggesting it is the end for Hangouts.

        I understand they want to focus on enterprise, but what does that mean for non-enterprise/business use?

  • Alexander Wood

    I find Alo’s Google Assistant to be very useful, but I dont think a new app is really needed for that. They should have integratd it into Hangouts, Google Now, and Okay Google.

  • M3EEKS

    Hangouts is Google’s messaging platform whether they like it or not. It works, anyone can use it and most importantly, it doesn’t suck…It’s far superior to their other attempts.
    I don’t know why Google have such a hard time comprehending the network effect. No one will use Allo, because no one uses it and everything about how they released it prevents adoption…Also, it has no purpose

    • paxmos

      Well, the new alphabet company needs apps that start with different alphabets since none of the can start with an ‘I’

  • ustill812

    Do people actually use any of the aforementioned products? I would think not. As for installs, those metrics shouldn’t count.

  • Richard Servello

    Why won’t they just switch Fi SMS to allo already???

  • Until Allo works with SMS and doeant just spam your contacts to install it, no one will care.

  • JeffD

    Not to mention the Google Voice integration!

  • Hard Little Machine

    So?

  • Tim

    Does this mean I will now be able to delete this bloat ware off my phone when it goes away? I bet not.

  • Duder12

    How does this change affect you?

  • Jonathan Rioux

    Here is the main reason why I’ve decided to quit Android world a few months ago: To many R.I.P. from Google. What’s next? Android TV? With no support from Google, that would not suprise me. Goodbye Android, see you in a better world, hopefully.