Starting on December 1st, smartphone OEMs won’t be required to preload Google Hangouts as part of Android’s core mobile app suite, according to Android Police. Duo, Google’s new video chat app, will take the place of Hangouts. As a result, Duo will come pre-installed on every single new Android smartphone released in 2017 and beyond.
It’s important to note this does not mean Google is preparing to shut down Hangouts — though the company has already noted it plans to remake Hangouts into a business-to-business offering. Moreover, OEMs can continue to pre-install Hangouts should they choose to do so. Hangouts will also continue to be available on the Google Play Store.
That said, it’s still a telling move on the part of Google. While Hangouts may have its fans, the company is now clearly more concerned with the success of Allo, its new AI assisted chat app, and Duo. On that note, Google has not added Allo to the list of required GMS apps, though it’s likely that move is forthcoming.