According to an email from Google to Google Mobile Services partners, reported by Android Police, Hangouts is getting a gentle kick out of the door. Set to begin this December 1, Google will no longer require Hangouts to be preinstalled on new hardware from OEMs, which is part of something typically referred to as the package of “gapps.” This package also contains apps like Gmail, Drive, Maps, and a few others.
Replacing Hangouts will be Duo, not Allo, which should now come preinstalled on all new Android hardware in 2017 and beyond. Be aware, though, Google notes that Hangouts is no longer required to come installed, but that does not mean Google is going to kill it or OEMs will stop packaging it. While plenty of hardware makers have their own messaging services, it’s possible a few may still package Hangouts, as it is listed as “Optional.” Additionally, Hangouts will still be available for download on Google Play, so don’t worry, it’s not dying… yet.
Here’s the message Google sent out.
Today, we are announcing that Google Duo will replace Hangouts within the suite of core GMS apps, and Hangouts will become GMS Optional for telephony products. This change will take effect on December 1, 2016.
Does this move affect you? It shouldn’t, since Hangouts will continue to be downloadable from Google Play. Would Allo make more sense, at least in terms of a messaging service? Yes, but there’s nothing wrong with Google pushing a video messaging service, either.