Google is currently offering Hangouts, Allo and Duo as apps that users can utilize for communication purposes.
While there are some who would argue that it would have been better if Google had combined all the apps into one massive communications platform, Google apparently thinks that it would be better to release multiple apps that users can choose from depending on what they need to do.
What are Hangouts, Allo and Duo all about, and which app should you use?
Many users by now are familiar with Google Hangouts, with the messaging platform already in existence for three years. During that time, the communications app has accumulated many features such as video calling and SMS support.
The main selling point of Hangouts is the possibility of cross-platform communication between desktop computers and mobile, with users able to send and receive messages across the two platforms.
Allo, which was announced by Google at the I/O 2016 developer conference, is a mobile-only messaging app that relies on the user's phone number.
Tagged as competition against popular mobile messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, Allo has the typical features of such an app but also uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to make messaging more convenient for users.
One of the major features of Allo is Smart Reply, which provides users with suggestions on responses that they can send within conversations. The app will remember the choices that users make or the message that they instead type out, and will apply what it learns in future conversations.
Allo, unlike Hangouts, also allows users to delete messages from their chat history.
Duo famously surpassed massively popular augmented reality mobile game Pokémon GO in the Google Play Store, vaulting to the top of the free Android apps chart.
The mobile-only app focuses on one-to-one video calls, and utilizes Web Real-Time Communication technology to make it very fast and end-to-end encryption to provide greater security for users. The app promises fewer dropped calls, and even supports handing off calls as the user switches between cellular and Wi-Fi connections.
Duo also features the Knock-Knock feature, which provides the person that users are calling with a video preview of what the user looks like and what they are doing.
Three Apps With Different Purposes
Google's Hangouts, Allo and Duo apps are all made for different purposes. Erik Kay, Google's engineering director for communication software said that the company decided to make it that way to keep the apps light and finely tuned. Combining all the apps into one might burden it with too many features, and will weigh down the engineering team with so many decisions coming from previous products.
Which Google communications app should you use? That would then depend on what you want to use the app for. Hangouts is great for collaboration, especially in business settings, with the app tied to Google for Work products and allowing for seamless communication between people in the office and people in the field. However, for users who would be mostly on their mobile devices, those who heavily use messaging might want to take a look at Allo, while those who have a preference for video calls should give Duo a try.