Google Hangouts to hang around, focus on business users
Could Google’s new one-to-one video calling app Duo and its soon-to-arrive text-based messaging app Allo become the “Hangouts killers?” Duo’s current roll out on Android and iOS and Allo’s expected arrival has raised questions over the survival of Hangouts, which was launched more than three years ago.
According to a report on Engadget, Hangouts will still be around, though Google will now focus the product on its business users. That’s pretty much in line with Google’s recent comment to Business Insider, when a company spokesperson had said that the company was “continuing to invest in Hangouts and it will remain a standalone product.”
After its attempt to become a social giant like Facebook and Twitter failed to take off, Google has been gradually disentangling parts of itself from Google+. The latest casualty is Hangouts On Air, which will be transitioning over to YouTube Live and will appear in the Live Streaming Events area of the YouTube creator studio instead of inside Google+, starting September 12.
While Allo and Duo are all set to become Google’s main consumer chat players, Hangouts will still be around. There are a few good reasons why Google won’t be replacing Hangouts with Duo and Allo anytime soon. For one, both are mobile-only apps with no desktop equivalent and don’t require a Google account, as they work with your phone number. On the other hand, Hangouts works on the desktop and is integrated into Gmail and Docs.
There are also differences in what you can do with Hangouts and Duo or Allo. Hangouts allows you to do video calls with multiple participants, while only one-to-one video calling is possible with Duo. So Hangouts will continue to exist and Google will now focus the product on the enterprise crowd, according to Google’s VP of communication products, Nick Fox.
Speaking to Engadget, Fox said, “Because Hangouts is built on a Google account, because it’s deeply integrated with Google apps, the Apps suite [things like Drive, Docs, etc.], Gmail, Calendar and so on, it’s seen much more success in the enterprise. It will increasingly focus on that kind of group collaboration enterprise productivity space.”
The launch of Duo and Allo, and continued support for Hangouts means that Google has finally given up trying to have one app do everything. Google has also realized, a little late though, that users will be turning mainly towards Android and iOS to broadcast their text- and video-based thoughts and feelings.
“We’ve historically tried to do a lot in a single app, but the reality is that are pretty different types of communication,” Fox said. “We see them differently, and we think we’ll be able to build the best experiences by building focused experiences that do what they’re intended to do really, really well.”
With all of that said, though, consumers are sure to end up being confused with the different messaging platforms available from Google, which is yet to figure out how it can move them smoothly from Hangouts to Allo and Duo.