Google has quietly disclosed that it will be shutting down the Hangouts API which means that it will now end support for its third-party developer tools. The shutdown will prevent new apps from being built while existing apps will be taken down from April 25th onwards.
There will be a few exceptions, though. Some apps will still function such as 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. Apps like DialPad and RingCentral will also be allowed to use the API after the expiration date.
However, Google did not reveal the news openly and there were no blog posts about the sudden move, but there was just an updated Hangouts FAQ. An email notification was also sent to developers active on the API.
The email, obtained by TechCrunch, reads as follows: "In order to streamline our efforts further, we will be retiring the Google+ Hangouts API that enables developers to build apps for the older version of Hangouts video calls. This API was originally intended to support social scenarios for consumer users as part of Google+, whereas Hangouts is now turning to focus on enterprise use cases."
"We understand this will impact developers who have invested in our platform. We have carefully considered this change and believe that it allows us to give our users a more targeted Hangouts desktop video experience going forward."
On the other hand, following the launch of Google's messaging apps Allo and Duo it looks like Google has been thinking about whether to keep its Hangouts platform alive or not. While the company has stated that Hangouts would indeed stick around, but with this new development, we can just assume that Google has a fragmented messaging app strategy right now.