Almost exactly three years ago Google released a messaging app with a promise. That messaging app was Hangouts and that promise was a superior, unified messaging experience. Unfortunately, Google was never actually able to deliver on that promise with the service. In fact, even today Google hasn’t even come close to delivering on that promised experience.
Let’s start from the beginning, in 2013 when Google initially released the app that was riddled with issues. Crashes, glitches, bugs, all of the things that make an app frustrating to use were wrong with Hangouts upon release. On top of all of that, the app was just slow. For example, upon opening the app it would take about 10 seconds for your conversations to load in. The collection of all of these issues made adoption of Hangouts slow and put a bad taste in peoples mouth.
As time went on Google acknowledged many of these issues and was able to fix them. Despite fixing many issues, though, adding features over time like the ability to send and receive SMS messages within Hangouts only led to more issues. Some of said issues were actually glaring ones. A good example is one notorious issue that didn’t allow a good portion of users to send or receive MMS messages via Hangouts.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to slam the service here, it’s actually a decent app if you use it in the right circumstances. It’s just that me, along with many other people on the internet believe that it’s time for Hangouts to go away and make room for the new kids on the block, Allo and Duo. If you don’t already know, Allo and Duo are the two new apps that Google introduced on stage at Google IO 2016. Allo is an instant messaging app that will be tied to your phone number and Duo is a lightweight video calling app. These two new apps completely overlap all of Hangouts current capabilities, so why should Google keep it around at all?
That’s the difficult question that many people are currently trying to wrap their head around. So far the most common reason among the internet seems to be because Allo will be tied to your phone number as opposed to your Google account like Hangouts. While this would be a good reason for keeping Hangouts around, the reason isn’t valid. Sure, Google didn’t directly mention that Allo would be tied to your Google account when they announced it at IO, but it almost certainly will be, especially with the inclusion of the Google Assistant within the app.
The bottom line here and the point that I’m trying to make is that Allo and Duo are capable of just about everything that Hangouts is and then some. Keeping this in mind, there really is no logical reason to keep Hangouts around once the two apps are released. Hangouts did have some potential when it was first released and the idea behind it was a great one, but Google was never able to bring that idea to fruition. Allo and Duo are Google’s second chance at entering the enormous market of instant messaging, let’s just hope they learned a thing or two from Hangouts.