Back in May at its developers’ conference, Google announced two new products – Allo and Duo. The search engine giant expounded that Google Allo would be an AI-supported mobile messaging platform while Duo would focus on video calling. At that time, many people thought Google had decided to kill its all-in-one communication app-Hangouts.
The arrival of the two new apps, however, will not mean the end for the chat service, instead, Google has a plan: veering Hangouts towards serving enterprise users. According to Google’s Vice President for communications Nick Fox, the video and messaging platform will remain despite the troubled history, failing to match the likes of WhatsApp, iMessage or Facebook Messenger. As a matter of fact, the app is still receiving updates. The recent updates added features for seamless group chats controls. Besides, Hangouts calls (video and voice) are now routed over a peer-to-peer connection for better speed and call quality.
The introduction of Allo and Duo aims to revive Google’s position in mobile messaging which has been assumed and controlled by Facebook. Allo will try to lure users with the built-in machine learning. As per Engineering Director Erik Kay, the app will be powered by Google Assistant to offer smart chatting – the machine learns your chatting trends over time after which it will make suggestions to better the experience for you. Meanwhile, Allo will use simplicity as a selling point. At the moment, Google Duo has been launched and is currently being rolled out to Android and iOS smartphones globally while there is no word yet about when Allo will be released.
Even though Google Hangouts has failed to succeed in messaging, the product has found strength in the enterprise market. Google wants to capitalize on that by stripping the service off messaging functionality while majoring on enterprise productivity. Quite a number of users rely on the service for office purposes as it is integrated with Google Apps suite. Fox says allocating different functionalities to different apps helps avoid confusion – Google Hangouts will be known for enterprise mainly on desktops, Google Allo focusses on mobile messaging while Google Duo serves as a video calling chat service. Quite simple and direct huh!
At the launch of Duo this week, the VP explained that by focusing the service on mobile allows them to make sure that they are giving the best in that particular area. As said, Hangouts will focus on enterprise productivity instead of merging a couple of functionalities as before. The app is currently integrated with the so-called Google work product apps, Docs, Calendar, Gmail, and Drive. Google Allo and Duo will be tied to one’s phone number instead of their Google account.
Implementing one-in-all apps is never easy because of a lot of bugs and other issues countered in the process. Facebook tried to merge instant messaging sometime back but failed horribly forcing the social media giant to opt for a dedicated instant messaging app, Facebook Messenger. Seemingly, Google is trying to avoid similar ordeals with Hangouts.
Although allocating different functionalities to different apps is a positive move by Google, the big task lies in getting customers to the new apps. The company will not only try to persuade users from external competitors that include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, FaceTime and the likes, but also from its own Google Hangouts who are already used to getting all services in the same place.