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Google Hangouts to become optional download

Google Hangouts has been a pre-installed Google app on Android smartphones for so long now, but with the introduction of Google Duo, Google’s new video chatting app that is still cross-platform for both Android and iOS, Google is looking to push Google Hangouts “out” the door.

According to a company email that Google has sent to its Google Mobile Services partners, the search engine giant has decided to make Google Hangouts an optional download in light of Google Duo:

“Today, we are announcing that Google Duo will replace Hangouts within the suite of core GMS apps, and Hangouts will become GMS Optional for telephony products. This change will take effect on December 1, 2016.”

In other words, it’s less than eight weeks until the Google Hangouts optional change takes effect, which means that Google has been deliberating this decision (or not; it’s always easier to press through with a new product and kill an old one).

As I’ve said some days ago, Google has said that it will continue to support Google Hangouts, though relegating it to the “optional” pile doesn’t mean what Hangouts fans want it to mean. After all, Google Photos has been relegated to optional status, even though it still remains a huge part of Google’s platform (though it now requires a download from the Google Play Store). Sadly enough, Photos should’ve never been eliminated as an app on Android smartphones, seeing that cloud storage is needed in this day and time — and there’s no such thing as unlimited internal storage.

What will become of Hangouts? That is the question. Google hasn’t said, though the company has decided to make Hangouts an app for business customers and Google Duo an app for non-business customers, so there’s that. But this means that Google is done with Hangouts on as grand a scale as it was in the past — and that Duo is the new wave of the future. Eventually, Hangouts will be replaced, and I wish Google would go ahead and grant that instead of trying to ease the bad news on everyone.

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