According to Android Police, an email sent by Google to its Mobile Services partners outlines a significant change to the core Google apps for all Android smartphones. As of December 1, Google will no longer require Hangouts to be a mandatory addition on devices running the company’s OS.
Phone-makers such as Samsung, Huawei and HTC will no longer be required to include Hangouts with their bundled services. Instead, Google Duo will be the mandatory video-calling app on Android. However, it’s still optional for phone-makers to include or exclude the app. All it takes is a simple download from Google Play.
Duo is being introduced to be geared more towards the masses with its simpler interface and features such as Knock Knock, which shares a video of a caller before their call is answered. Hangouts also offered video services, but Google has plans to transform Hangouts into a business communications platform in the future.
However, it’s surprising that the replacement for Hangouts is Duo and not the seemingly more sensible option of Google Allo. It’s all well and good to push Duo as a primary video-calling service, since Google could do very well in this area, but it’s very strange not to include Allo in the list of bundled services. Allo is meant to be competing with the other popular third-party messengers such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and is even looking to replace your SMS client.