With Duo going live this morning and the release of Allo right around the corner, the future seems unclear for the future of Google Hangouts. As great as the service can be, Allo and Duo duplicate its functionality and even add on to it with more features. Until now Google hasn’t said much regarding the service’s future except that Allo and Duo wouldn’t be replacing it. Today we’ve learned more about Google’s plan for the service through Google’s VP of communication products, Nick Fox.

Talking to Engadget, Fox revealed that after the release of Allo and Duo, Hangouts would shift its focus to the enterprise user with Allo and Duo taking over the consumer market.

Because Hangouts is built on a Google account, because it’s deeply integrated with Google apps, the Apps suite [things like Drive, Docs, etc.], Gmail, Calendar and so on, it’s seen much more success in the enterprise. It will increasingly focus on that kind of group collaboration enterprise productivity space.

Google is likely taking this approach because while Hangouts ties itself to a Google account, Allo and Duo both use phone numbers. Fox further said that Google realized that it didn’t really make sense to have a single app to do everything. He says that with these two new apps Google wanted to create focused experiences that do what they are intended to do and do them very well.

This, of course, makes sense. Most consumers today spend their time on mobile only, pretty much only on a single smartphone, so the desktop and tablet clients on Hangouts aren’t utilized by those users. Meanwhile, enterprise users would need access to desktop clients, access on multiple devices, and many of the other features that Hangouts offers. As Allo and Duo gain traction, they will likely replace Hangouts entirely for the average consumer, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Ben Schoon

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