allo whisper shout-Google IO 2016

Allo, Google’s new mobile messaging app, brims with intelligence. It looks great as well. It has “Hangouts killer” written all over it.

But Hangouts is here to stay, according to Google. In a comment to Business Insider, a company spokesperson said that Google is “continuing to invest in Hangouts and it will remain a standalone product.”

Why isn’t Google replacing dreary old Hangouts with the seemingly superior Allo? One obvious reason is the fact that, at least for now, Allo is a mobile-only app. It doesn’t even require a Google account, as it works with your phone number. Hangouts, meanwhile, works on the desktop and is integrated into Gmail and Docs. It’s also an important part of Google’s suite of enterprise tools, as well as Project Fi.

We can speculate that Google will eventually expand Allo with more functionality and multi-platform support. And it’s possible that Allo will eventually tie with Google accounts. At least until then, Hangouts is safe.

It’s also possible that Allo (and its Duo sidekick) will co-exist with Hangouts indefinitely, just as Facebook’s Messenger does very well in the company of WhatsApp.

For now, it’s telling that Google didn’t mention Hangouts at all during the I/O keynote yesterday. And there was nothing to hint that Assistant, the most compelling feature of Allo, will ever land on Hangouts.

Google has a longstanding fragmentation issue when it comes to its messaging services, going back to the days of Gtalk. Now that we have Allo and Hangouts (and Duo, and Messenger for SMS, and Spaces, and YouTube messaging), it seems that Google has almost given up trying to unify everything.

How do you feel about Hangouts hanging around?