Today at I/O 2016, Google announced two new messaging and communication apps: Allo, a messaging app which hooks into your phone number, and Duo, a video calling app. You might assume that means Hangouts would be quietly canned (or as quietly as possible, anyway), right? Not so.
Google has confirmed to Android Police that the company will continue to invest in Hangouts and it will remain a separate product. In a way, this does make sense: as Allo requires a phone number, it might be aimed as a WhatsApp competitor, while Hangouts remains as a Facebook Messenger competitor. On the other hand, would it not be better to have one singular product focused on messaging? Don't forget Google also has the SMS Messenger app on Android. Maybe Allo will be able to send SMS messages too and Messenger will be killed off? Maybe this is why SMS might be removed from Hangouts? Who knows. Hangouts also does video and voice calling, duplicating the use-cases of Duo. It remains to be seen if this confuses customers, but I have no doubt at least some will get mixed up between the myriad of different apps available for communicating in Google's ecosystem.