Google has announced that it’s shutting down its 2-year-old YouTube messaging service on September 18.
The latest move is yet another example of how a company as big as Google is struggling to mark its presence in the world of social media, which is mostly owned by Facebook and its adopted kids. I guess Twitter is a different territory in this case.
The announcement was posted by a Google employee on a support page (spotted by 9to5Google).
A similar notification is also appearing on the Inbox page in the YouTube app saying, “Messages on YouTube will be going away after September 19, 2019.”
Since then, it has invited a hoard of comments from people who are regular users of YouTube Chat, urging the company not to scrape the feature.
Why is Google killing YouTube Chat?
The company says it will now focus more on improving public conversations made through comments, posts, and stories.
Yes, many users on YouTube are mostly interested in posting and reading other people’s comment on videos. But few users have started viewing YouTube Chat as an alternative to regular social media (Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp). It allows them to talk to their friends easily and stay away from all the noise.
One of the good things about YouTube’s chat feature is that it lets people share YouTube videos within the app itself. Personally, I haven’t used the messaging feature much lately but I feel that it’s a good way to connect to new people on YouTube if you don’t want to add them to your primary social network.
Why did YouTube Messages fail?
It might be the case that YouTube’s messaging feature couldn’t taste the success soon just like Facebook did. However, it started to gain traction among the audience.
Many people said in the comments that they like YouTube’s messaging feature and that it has helped them make new friends.
“I think it’s a bad idea,” said User 13658156428761580094 after reading the announcement.
Some users even threatened to boycott and abandon YouTube if it removes the messaging feature.
YouTube Messages has been in existence for the last two years. But it has just existed. Google has never done robust promotion for its chat feature.
For instance, it’s almost a daily thing that I get prompted to subscribe to YouTube Premium but the same thing has almost never happened for the chat feature.
Unlike other YouTube features, Google has probably never advertised YouTube’s messaging capabilities on billboards or other public platforms.
Google’s history of messaging apps
I guess, in the coming future it would be hard for us to keep track of how many messaging apps Google has released. You just start counting, Google Talk, Google Allo, Google+, Hangouts, Google Duo, Google Chat, Google Groups, Project Fi, etc.
Many of Google’s messaging apps have often come preloaded on the company’s monopolized Android OS, giving them more exposure than their competitors. Still, as it happens, people just don’t switch to Google’s chat apps, forcing the company to shut them down and come up with a new strategy.
Possibly, Orkut was the most successful attempt Google ever made in the social media department until Facebook knocked it out. Android Messages is another app that’s letting the company survive in the messaging world. But here also, Microsoft’s SMS Organizer has emerged as a tough (and better) competitor.
However, with Gmail, the search giant has a single-handed handed monopoly when it comes email-based communications. I don’t think anyone would doubt that.
Anyway, Google has an argument for having so many messaging apps. In the past, the company emphasized that each of these is designed to fit a distinct use case, instead of a single app catering to every user. Well, it can’t be said with affirmation, but this decentralized strategy could be hurting the apps in the first place.
By the time people get used to one of Google’s chat apps, the company is already prepared to scrape it off because the app couldn’t reach the “next billion users” in record time. Maybe the next time Google builds some new social media app, it stays for a longer period of time.
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