Google kills off Hangouts and Allo in a cull to its messaging apps

The Red Wedding of Google chat apps

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If you’ve ever used a Google app to communicate you’ll know there are far too many of them. Do you use Google Hangouts, perhaps Google Meet, or what about Allo or Duo? It’s a minefield and, thankfully, Google has recognised this problem. In a blog post, it has announced it is to cull some of these errant apps.

The first casualty of the Googlecide is Google Allo, Google’s response to WhatsApp released in 2016. Many of its features have already been transferred over to Google Messages, which succeeds it as Google’s primary text communication app. Allo will be supported until March 2019, in which time users are able to transfer their information from it to Messages.

Google Duo, the FaceTime-esque video-calling app, and Google Voice, the audio-calling app, both made it through unscathed.

Another sad victim of the purge is Google Hangouts, although its two subsidiaries — Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat — survive it. Hangouts Meet and Chat were designed for workplace use but Hangouts is used by a variety of Google’s customers so by discontinuing Hangouts, Google is effectively segregating its audience. The theory is that normal users will use Messages, Duo and Voice, whereas professional users will use Hangouts Meet and Chat.

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The loss of Hangouts is a big blow to its many users, given that it had a passionate non-commercial audience. It’s often the go-to video communications app for non-business groups or teams on creative projects, while Google Duo is preferential for casual users. At least Skype now has a chance to reclaim its throne.

The Googlecide is the result of Google realising it has too many apps — there are around 20 Google apps currently available, including 15 in G Suite. Earlier this year it was announced that Google Inbox, the email app and service for power users, is being folded into Gmail as the two apps held the exact same function.

What’s happening here with Google’s own app Red Wedding is simply an evolution of this process. With the loss of Google Allo and Hangouts the apps superseding them have the exact function and purpose, setting a precedent the company can follow for its other app sectors.

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