Ravi Kanneganti of Google:
First, starting today, people using Hangouts on mobile will see an in-app screen asking them to move to Chat in Gmail or the Chat app. Similarly, people who use the Hangouts Chrome extension will be asked to move to Chat on the web or install the Chat web app. In July, people who use Hangouts in Gmail on the web will be upgraded to Chat in Gmail.
While we encourage everyone to make the switch to Chat, Hangouts on the web will continue to be available until later this year. Users will see an in-product notice at least a month before Hangouts on the web starts redirecting to Chat on the web.
I just love how this is an ongoing story. Google has announced the forthcoming demise of Hangouts a few times. A merger with Allo seemed likely for a time, but Allo came and went while the company was trying to figure out what to do with Hangouts.
On the plus side, it really does seem like Google is figuring out its chat client strategy. You can now have video calls with Meet, Chat on Android, or Gmail on Android and iOS, though I think all of them use Google’s Meet back-end. Audio calls are possible with Chat, Gmail, and Google Voice, and text-only messages can be sent with any of Google’s messaging products. Believe it or not, this is an improvement.