Over the past several days, 9to5Google reported that Google was planning to move away from “classic Hangouts” and sunset Google Allo. Amid the discussion about the company’s messaging future, Google today clarified its strategy, and published a definite blog post confirming our two reports.
Google today provided an “update on [its] current efforts, and [its] focus moving toward a simpler communications experience.” Starting on the consumer front, Google has “decided to stop supporting Allo to focus on Messages.”
Messages & Google Allo
Back in April, Google only noted that it was “pausing investment” on Allo, but today is confirming our report that the service is about to get sunset. Google Allo will be available until March 2019, with the service continuing to work until then; disregarding today’s downtime. Google provided details on how users can export existing conversation history from the app.
For Google, the focus is now to “upgrade SMS” or increase Universal Profile RCS adoption. This will be done through the Messages app, Android’s default RCS client. The company notes how it “learned a lot from Allo” and that many of the machine learning features have been added to Messages.
Meanwhile, Google notes its success on consumer video calling with Duo. Launched alongside Allo in 2016, it’s now available on Chromebooks, Android tablets, Smart Displays, and iPads.
It’s one of Google’s highest rated mobile apps and is seeing strong growth and engagement across both Android and iOS.
Classic Hangouts, Meet, Chat
On the enterprise front, Google is reiterating its support for Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet. The company cites “great adoption with both among our G Suite customers,” and has more features planned in the “coming months.”
Chat customers will be able to include people from outside of their organization, making it easy to stay aligned with clients, vendors, partners and others, all from one place.
In regards to our report about “classic Hangouts,” Google over the weekend noted that regular users will have access to Hangouts Chat and Meet. However, the company today did not provide a timeline, while emphasizing that the product is “primarily focused” on the enterprise.
Hangouts Chat and Meet are primarily focused on team collaboration for G Suite customers and at some point will be made available for existing Hangouts users, too. We’re fully committed to supporting Hangouts users in the meantime.
That said, the company is “committed to supporting Hangouts users” until a full transition.