Google Talk — commonly referred to as Gchat and Gtalk — was officially discontinued on Monday, having been entirely replaced by Hangouts. The Mountain View, California-based Internet giant announced the cancellation of Google Talk earlier this year, thus finally confirming a product strategy shift that’s been rumored about since 2013 and the introduction of Hangouts. Originally launched in 2005, Google Talk saw its final build being released more than four years ago, with the service being essentially unsupported ever since then, though its servers were still operational. The Alphabet-owned company proceeded to debut a wide variety of new communications solutions following the launch of Hangouts, signaling that it’s looking to cater to specific needs and not dedicate resources to developing a catch-on platform that’s meant to compete with every other service on the market. While sometimes frustrating to users who tend to gravitate toward Google’s products across all categories, this strategy is a safer long-term bet for the company, some industry watchers believe.
Hangouts was initially presented as a relatively versatile communications platform, though Google has been placing a larger focus on adapting the service to the enterprise segment in recent years. Users who are looking for a streamlined tool that allows them to quickly get in touch with their friends and family are instead encouraged to use Android Messages, Allo, Duo, or Voice, depending on their preferred communications channels. While all of those Google-made solutions are slowly becoming better integrated with one another, it’s unlikely that the tech giant will be discontinuing any one of them in the short term, even if they become more similar in terms of capabilities and design than they already are.
Google has been servicing a broad range of industries with its software portfolio for years now, though Alphabet’s subsidiary has yet to monetize many of them, having previously decided to focus on user acquisition and retention rates for the foreseeable future. It’s still unclear when the likes of Hangouts and Allo will be monetized by the company, provided that ever happens, but an update on Google’s software-related endeavors and other operations is expected to follow in the coming months.