The days of Google Talk are quickly coming to an end. As the company announced today, the messaging service that allowed Gmail users to talk to each other since it launched in 2005, will now be completely retired.
Even while Google pushed Hangouts as its consumer messaging service (before Allo, Duo, Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet) over the last few years, it still allowed die-hard Gtalk users (and there are plenty of them) to stick to their preferredchat app. Over the next few days, these users will getan invite to move to Hangouts. After June 26, that switch will be mandatory.
Hangouts itself, of course, is going through its own transition right now. While itll be around for a while, Google is positioning it as its business-centric service and splitting it up into Chat and Meet (though the legacy Hangoutsservice will still be around for a while). For consumers, Allo and Duo are now the preferred messaging services, but there is still no web version of Allo, for example, so at this point, Google can only push users to Hangouts (unless we should see the June 26 date as a possible launch date for Allo and maybe Duo on the web).
While Googles overall strategy is pretty clear (Allo/Duo for consumers, Hangouts Chat/Meet for the enterprise, Android Messages for carriers),the execution of this transition still leaves much to be desired.And given all of the current changes, who knowsif Google will actually stick to this current strategy or launch another messaging app (Hallo?) soon.
And here is another update thatll just add to the confusion: after fusing Hangouts andSMS for a while, the company is now focused on Android Messages as its primary service for accessing text messages. So if you are currently using what Google now calls the classic Hangouts app as your SMS client, Google will ask you to switch to Android Messages (unless you use Google Voice with Hangouts for Google Voice SMS, or you are a Project Fi user).
On the positive side, Google is also killing a few last Google+ features in Gmail: Google+ Circles andthe ability to email Google+ profiles. Those will be gone sometime after April 24).