The rise of Google’s Duo is nigh—at least according to a recent email sent out to Google Mobile Services partners.
In the email, Google outlines a change to the GMS package, which states that Hangouts will soon be optional as part of the software suite that OEMs are required to preload onto Android devices. Google Duo will act as the replacement.
Here’s the important bit from the email, via Android Police:
Today, we are announcing that Google Duo will replace Hangouts within the suite of core GMS apps, and Hangouts will become GMS Optional for telephony products. This change will take effect on December 1, 2016.
Now, this doesn’t spell the end of Hangouts but it’s a small indication that the platform is becoming less important as a consumer service. Google made a big fuss about Duo when it launched so it makes sense for the search giant to make the video chat app a more visible part of Android going forward.
But just because OEMs aren’t required to preload Hangouts onto Android devices doesn’t mean they won’t. If you do wind up getting a device without it, it’ll be waiting in the Google App Store.
That being said, it’s a little odd that Allo is not part of the change. With so many other messaging services on the market, you’d think Google would do everything it can to encourage smartphone owners to use the platform, especially since it features Google Assistant, the company’s exciting new AI platform.
So, Hangouts might not be as important to Google in the future. But that doesn’t mean its demise is on the horizon. After all, you can use it on multiple devices and in the browser, which can’t be said for Allo.