Indeed, Google Talk will be discontinued this week, only to be replaced by Hangouts as the official communications application from Google. The features found within Google Talk are now mostly found in Hangouts, so you’re not going to be left with an incomplete service, just a differently branded one. If you still are a Google Talk user, you have probably already received word from Google that you will no longer be able to access Google Talk starting February 16.
With Hangouts, you can now send messages and make calls (for free and otherwise), so Google Talk no longer needs to be a part of our application suite. Many have condemned this decision as some prefer having a separate desktop application, like Google Talk, instead of having to use Chrome in order to make use of Hangouts. We understand the motivation behind discontinuing Google Talk and pushing Hangouts onto customers, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the right way to go about it.
Even though Hangouts is pretty comprehensive on mobile, it doesn’t really have all the features desktop users had with Google Talk. If you used clients like Trillina, Miranda or Pidgin with Google Talk, we can’t say for sure if compatibility with Hangouts is going to be integrated on this front, since Hangouts is pretty closed to other applications at the moment. At the same time, users are already displeased with the announcement as you need to have Chrome installed in order for Hangouts to work. That’s basically forcing people to install a browser in order to use an instant messaging service, which is not sitting well with users who are not Chrome fans.
Now, Google Talk users will have to switch to Hangouts, but many are saying they aren’t willing to install Chrome in order to access the messaging application. If Google doesn’t release a native application that doesn’t just come as an extension for Chrome, many will renounce the company’s service. Even though there are many Chrome fans out there, not all are willing to switch browsers and will inevitably navigate towards other clients.