At Google I/O in May, Google introduced the world to new messaging and video apps called Allo and Duo that left many of us wondering what the future of Hangouts would be. After all, Hangouts was originally released as the do-all messaging app of the future, where messaging and video chatting and SMS and Google Voice would all come together to rid us of having to use two or three or six different apps. Of course, that vision has never aligned and Hangouts has been the butt of jokes for years as users in the consumer space flock to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Going forward, Google appears to be ready to admit defeat, in a way, once Allo launches and Hangouts gets an enterprise focus.
According to Google’s Nick Fox who spoke with Engadget, Hangouts won’t be going anywhere and is going to continue to live on as its frustrating self, but as it grows, it may get a business focus. That means that Allo is going to be the consumer star that Google will want you to use for messaging with friends and family.
Fox says that some of the Hangouts focus for the enterprise has to do with it being attached to your Google account and the access that brings to other Google services (Gmail, Calendar, Drive, etc.). On the other hand, it’s just not that simple of an app with its all-in-one approach, yet does work good as a collaboration tool. And that’s probably where we’ll continue to see it grow is in the collaboration space.
Again, Hangouts isn’t going anywhere any time soon (if ever), but it doesn’t sound like Google wants us using it for those casual conversations. Instead, Google wants us on Allo and Duo and the new features (like Google Assistant embedded) they bring. Plus, they only require a phone number, not a Google account.