Even though we already know Google Hangouts isn’t fully going away (at least not yet), things aren’t looking good. According to an email sent to Google Mobile Services (GMS) partners, Hangouts will no longer be required to be preloaded on new smartphones (via Android Police)…
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Starting December 1st, the suite of core GMS applications will swap Hangouts for Google Duo. It’s interesting that Google has opted for Duo in place of Allo, but it’s entirely possible the company will later add Allo to GMS as well. Currently, this core suite includes 11 apps, most notably apps like Chrome, YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, and of course the Play Store.
The key thing to note here is the Google is not mandating this change, an OEM can still preload Hangouts if it chooses to do so, even though most probably won’t. As AP notes, many OEMs will probably take the opportunity to push its own messaging app, or preload another option that it prefers. Hangouts will, of course, also be available for download on Google Play.
With this change, Google gives Duo a huge chance at seeing wide success. There were millions of downloads in the first week alone, and there no signs of that slowing down significantly either at the app has already skyrocketed to at least 10 million downloads. With the app being preloaded on millions of new Android devices, that’s only going to help its adoption.