Well for everyone that is "happy" about what's missing and so sure that it's gone, never to return, because it simply doesn't make sense; I'm sorry to say but it seems that it will make a comeback. Okay, I'm not "really" sorry but I do feel for you if, something you thought nothing of is going to, in some way cause you any issues when they put it back.
But for those of us that liked the "Better than a phone" means of knowing that our friends & family were actually available for us to talk to them (and them to us) "instantly", there is Good News! Status and presence is coming to Hangouts says +Google+ Help https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JohnWard/posts/jTYLoTaPJ2H
and Google will work their magic just like they always have to make it better! Imagine? The new instant info of "what's been read so far" AND an organized list of people that understand the idea of INSTANT in the presence and status order that shows it! All wrapped together with Instant Messages, Voice & Video Conferences! The next best thing is teleportation; who knows it may be Google that figures out the details for that too! #GoogleRocks
I can wait as long as GTalk still works. It's all good.
Seriously though, wake up and read what some of you have posted, "I didn't use it so it doesn't make sense to have it." I mean, really? What's the harm in having it then? OH come now, you know who you are...
Are you really on every one of your devices all the time? No, maybe two but in reality only one if you're human, there are studies to prove that by-the-way... Presence, status and device are completely realistic and proven attainable.
Sending a good old fashioned letter through the post office, texting, posting to social sites, emailing and making phone calls all make sense and have their uses and logical times to use them, so should it be, that if I don't use one or more I should pontificate on how they don't make sense? No! Keep them all, it's good for people to get together and if it helps some feel more comfortable to get together then all the better. But "Instant Messaging" and now Hangouts... well eventually, Hangouts will be the way everyone not sitting with each other (okay, there are some girls - and yes, you know who you are too) will initiate conversations. Why? Because it just makes sense.
And that's how I spent my Friday night... Thanks for reading.