Google Hangouts update on Android removes location sharing
Google released Hangouts way back in 2013 and the service soon became a favorite among Android users. The app featured SMS integration, which was one of its more popular features as it allowed users to have all their messages in one app. Sadly though, despite its popularity, the service was sidelined in favor of Allo and was split into two products for G Suite users: Meet and Chat. Funnily enough, Allo also met an untimely demise in 2018 and was replaced by Android Messages. Despite being shelved by Google, Hangouts still enjoyed the favor of many users until reports revealed that the service would finally be shut down in 2020. While Google denied these claims at the time, a recent report from ArsTechnica claims that Google has removed location sharing from Hangouts which leads us to believe that the service may, after all, be shut down soon.
As per the report, Hangouts for Android version 32 doesn’t include the location button anymore and users can no longer share their location with one another. It isn’t exactly clear why the company has stripped away such an essential feature, but Hangouts users will now have to depend on real-time location sharing via Google Maps if they wish to share their location with others. It’s worth noting that earlier this year, we learned that Google is working on a messaging app for G Suite users that combines Gmail, Hangouts Meet/Chat, and Drive. While Hangouts’ future is uncertain as of now, the lack of support and removal of essential features clearly indicates that Google wants to shut it down. However, due to the fact that Hangouts is so deeply integrated into the ecosystem and has a user base dating back 15 years, killing the service seems to be a complicated process for Google.