Earlier at Google I/O 2016, it was announced by the company that two new messaging and communication apps have been added their existing suite of communication apps. Allo is a messaging app that locks-in to your phone number while Duo remains a video calling app. These apps now join Hangouts and Messenger as Google’s offerings for telecommunication.
When questioned by Android Police as to the company’s strategy, Google’s representative had little to say except that Google will continue to invest in Hangouts, which would still continue as a separate offering.
Though this might instil a degree of confusion among users, the imperative for doing so can be justified by the fact that Allo ties in to a phone number and thus is aimed as a WhatApp competitor. While Duo would be positioned as a Facebook Messenger competitor. This still leaves Hangouts and Google Messenger and their positioning. Hangouts has been positioned as part of the Google account and thus is tied to G+ and Gmail, while Messenger is placed as a replacement for convention SMS. Currently, the fate of Messenger is yet unknown.
The interesting thing to take away from this would be that Google plans to keep Hangouts alive — given the poor app has not received an update in ages and has been trailing along as an ignored love-child. Furthermore, there are many bugs that the app has been facing that have not been smoothened out with new releases and lastly, there has been no Hangouts related news at the Google I/O. So it is surprising to learn that Hangouts is surviving the introduction of Allo and Duo.
What remains Google’s long term strategy is yet unclear. Maybe when they do roll out Allo and Duo in summer as part of their communications ecosystem we would be able to have a clearer picture.
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