Google could be dropping the Hangouts branding
The name change has been previously hinted at, with the Hangouts Meet service being referred to as Google Meet in the past, by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
In addition, it doesn't make much sense for Hangouts and Hangouts Chat to be two separate consumer apps, and Google is likely to replace one with the other soon. "Classic Hangouts," as it has been referred to for the last few years, may be shutting down soon, and we initially reported on its expected 2020 retirement back in 2018. A Google spokesperson reached out to us at the time, explaining that "classic Hangouts" users will be migrated to the Chat and Meet services, suggesting already active plans of its retirement back then.
And if this recent change in naming translates to other Hangouts products, that would likely bring the end of both Hangouts as a branding, and the "classic Hangouts" service.
Hangouts was first developed as a feature to Google's social network Google+, but later became its own standalone product after it was well-received by users even if Google+ wasn't. It's currently available as an app on both Android and iOS, still simply named Hangouts, likely to be renamed or replaced later. Alternatively, Google offers Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet, which are consumer and business-oriented conferencing tools respectively. Those are likely to officially become Google Chat and Google Meet soon.
We're expecting to see these changes as 2020 progresses, though none of it is officially confirmed or certain yet.
Meanwhile, popular Hangouts Meet rival conferencing app Zoom has been suffering a shareholder lawsuit, along with several bans from schools and companies like SpaceX, over mounting security concerns.