Google announced its Allo and Duo text messaging and video calling apps at Google I/O 2016 this past Wednesday in the conference’s Keynote address, but the search engine giant had little to say about Google Hangouts, the company’s go-to video calling and text messaging app for the last few years.
Now, we’ve received word that Google intends to continue supporting Google Hangouts as a standalone app without eliminating the app from its lineup. Tech site 9to5google says that Google has provided its own statement as an answer to the question:
According to a statement, [Google] Hangouts will continue to receive more features and updates in the future. However, Google is mum on whether it will receive any of the smart bot features that are a part of Google Assistant.
What this means is that Google Hangouts will remain as a standalone app, so Hangouts fanatics won’t be forced to delete the app and move over to Allo and Duo. At the same time, however, Google’s decision to unveil the new Allo and Duo apps at Google I/O 2016 does highlight the possible idea that Google Hangouts isn’t all that Google intends it to be and that Google would rather not fix the issues and transform the app; in the search engine giant’s mindset, it’s better to go ahead and unveil a new one.
Why Google decided to sideline Google Hangouts in this way is a mystery to anyone who loves and uses Hangouts on a regular basis, but it just goes to show that Google has problems figuring out just what consumers want. Someone has suggested that Google should have brought the new features to Google Hangouts instead of unveiling Allo and Duo, and that announcing two new apps that together could replace Hangouts wasn’t a wise move. It wasn’t, but what’s even more disconcerting is what Google intends to do with Hangouts.
So far, Google has provided an answer about Google Hangouts that consumers can live with; but we’ve seen Google bring out new apps just to eliminate old ones later on after the new apps have been heavily adopted – so Google’s response isn’t too comforting at the moment. Simply put, it means that Google isn’t ready to take a genuine stance on the question of what to do about Google Hangouts until the numbers confirm that Hangouts must go.
Google’s fragmented approach is a bit problematic when you look at the company’s attempts to simplify Android over the years, but perhaps Google is going after social media giant Facebook with two apps that pretty much serve the purpose of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram without bundling so many services together. Users that only want to chat need only download Allo, while video chatting fanatics need only download Duo. Unbundled services have their appeal for some Android and iOS customers.
Additionally, Google may also be going after Facebook’s WhatsApp with its emphasis on end-to-end encryption in its new Allo texting app — which explains Google’s decision to unbundle its services.
Not only can the Google Hangouts bypass with Allo and Duo be attributed to Facebook; Apple is also part of the blame. After all, Apple has one texting app (iMessage) and one video calling app (FaceTime), and Google’s decision to release these apps on iOS as well as Android points to the search engine giant’s determination to steal users away from Apple’s core apps that have given the company an edge in the minds of some iPhone users.
For now, the old chatting and video calling app remains; but it could be on its last leg in the future, or retired altogether. Google makes anything possible but, with Google Allo, Duo, and Hangouts, anything is possible.