Google Pixel and Pixel XL will be the first Google phones after a while to come with Hangouts disabled out of the box.
In previous versions, we’ve had this app come as a default package alongside other Google apps. However, the new Pixel and Pixel XL have instead switched to Google Duo as the replacement of this popular app. Since Google Duo is only meant for mobile video calling purposes (no group calls), Google also offers Allo that takes care of the messaging part, roles that Hangouts combines quite perfectly.
In addition to these three apps, Google also offers Messenger for SMS purposes. However, Hangouts still comes with an option to integrate SMS services and use it as the default messaging app on your phone. So, in short, Google Pixel and Pixel XL comes with a possible four messaging apps from Google, all of which the company is advocating for their use.
When the Google Pixel or turned on, as usual with any Android device, you will come across several setup processes. In one case, the Pixel phone asks you to pick the Google apps you wish to install. Of course, the main Google App is a must-install, however, you will also have the option of choosing from Google Duo, Allo, Keep, Docs as well as the Daydream Keyboard.
With Google Duo and Allo installed, you still have Messenger on board. It gets even worse if your device is locked to a carrier which also adds its own messaging app. So, you end up with at least three Google apps on your phone, yet Hangouts is still nowhere. None of these apps has the power that the latter has and in fact, it combines everything that is offered in the three Google apps, in adding to coming in with other superior features like video conferencing and voice calling.
If you think it is possible to send a message from Messenger directly to a Google Allo account, sorry for you. This means that the apps keep a separate list of contacts that is managed individually. Google is hopeful that those who make the jump to the Pixel phones do agree to make the switch from depending on Hangouts and start using Allo and Duo. Alternatively, they have the option to enable it via the Play Store. If this happens, your Google Pixel handset will end up with four Google apps for messaging services only.
So, which of these four should you use? And why is Google even having four messaging apps? While the argument that Google Duo and Allo are mobile-centric may still stand, most people today take their phones to work and actually incorporate phones in work stuff, hence the need for Google Hangouts on Android devices. Google claims that it is pushing the Hangouts app to the enterprise world. However, perhaps the company forgot that these people also use phones.
Disabling Hangouts by default on the Google Pixel and Pixel XL is a lame move by the company, especially since none of Allo, Duo or Messenger can do what the former does.