When Google launched Duo two months ago, the message been sent out to the world was clear, Google is shifting focus away from its other messaging apps to the new ones such as Duo and the Google AI-powered messaging app known as Allo.
Google Hangouts is the first to be be shown the door. In an email message to all manufacturers of Android phones, Google informed them that Hangouts would be replaced by Duo in the suit of apps that come bundled in the Android operating system.
To understand how this work, Google Mobile Services(GMS) is the place to go. When OEMs decide to use the Android operating system on their devices, they have to sign a licensing agreement with Google through the GMS.
The agreement basically implies that as long as they want to make Play Store one of the apps in their devices, they must include other Google Apps. These apps come bundled in the Android OS.
That is the reason all Android phones that come pre-installed with Play Store also have other pre-installed Google Apps that are sometimes impossible to uninstall since they are system apps.
Hangouts, from December 1 would cease to be a part of these pre-installed apps. Duo is taking its place. Manufacturers can opt to include Hangouts in their devices if they so which though.
This move by Google is likely to be the first step on resting Hangouts for good. Hangouts was launched three years ago with a lot of promise. It had everything from messaging to video calls. As far as features are concerned, it has more of them than Duo which is strictly a video-calling apps for smartphones.
Having tested Duo, I can say for a fact that Duo is not bad as far as calling your other Duo contacts goes. But it doesn’t offer anything special to make me switch from the likes of Skype.
Users of iOS devices I am sure wouldn’t be rushing to start using Duo instead of Facetime anytime soon. Because like I said earlier, Duo does not offer something compelling to make people switch from what they are used to.
Google Allo on the other hand could just be the next big thing. With Google Allo, Google used its huge data base of what it knows about our online habits to create a very good mobile assistant.
Allo for now is trending as people get to grips with the novelty of having a conversation with a machine.
So why didn’t Google replace Hangouts with Allo since the latter seems to be doing so well?
I am guessing that there is a hierarchy of how apps are promoted by Google. A system based on the app that was first launched. A sort of first come, first serve. And since Duo was launched before Allo, it is just right that Allo gets promoted to Google Mobile Services before Allo.
On the other hand, it could be because Duo needs a lot of help to become what Google want it to be. After the initial euphoria accompanying the launch of Duo, downloads of Duo have slowed down to a trickle. People have gone back to what worked for them.
Allo on the other hand seems to be doing just fine. Though it is still early days to give an informed opinion about how Allo is catching on. But the vibes seem to be in Allo’s favor.
Google must be prepared to play the long game here and be patient with Duo. Even though from December all new Android smartphones would come pre-installed with Duo, it is no guarantee people would use the app. It would help though.
So how long would the world have to wait before Allo is also made a pre-installed app on Android devices? And which Google app do you think is going to make way for Allo?
Time would reveal all.
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