Well, yet another part of Google + bites the dust! The latest in line of Google disentanglement is its live streaming service, Google+ Hangouts On Air. According to the announcement from Google on its support page of YouTube, September 12 marks the end of Google Hangouts on Air. Post that date, all live streaming services would be handled by YouTube Live.
How does end of Google Hangouts on Air impact users?
So, how exactly does this transition impact users? Does YouTube Live just pick up right from where Hangouts left off? The answer to this question is both a yes and a no.
After the switch-over is done, users will still be able to schedule, start, as well as control live streams using YouTube Live. However, some features like Applause and Showcase will no longer be available; while other functions like Q&A features of Hangouts will be replaced by Google Slides Q&A features or social media.
Did Allo and Duo cause the end of Google Hangouts?
Rumor mills are rife with the possibility that Google plus Hangouts may be re-branded, with the launch of the new messaging service from Google – Allo and Duo, this Tuesday.
Knock Knock! Here’s Allo and Duo: The new messaging service consists of Allo and its partner Duo. Duo is a mobile-only full-screen video chat application, while Allo is an all-enhanced app for texting. These apps do not require a Google account, and works with just a phone number.
To make users less apprehensive about video calls, an interesting feature called ‘Knock Knock’ has been introduced in Duo. Knock knock is compared to looking through a peephole before opening the door, as it allows the participant to see the caller before picking up the call.
Allo also contains Google Assistant, an improved version of Google Voice assistant which can perform more natural two-way conversations.
In a move to promote Allo and Duo, Google is slowly de-emphasizing the video chat feature of Google Hangouts as well.
Does this mean Google Hangouts will be completely done away with?
Well, not exactly. As per the comments made by a company spokesperson to Business Insider, Google will continue to invest in Hangouts, and retain it as a standalone product. Google also intends to promote Hangouts in the enterprise market, and give more focus to business consumers.
Experts speculate that this could just be a stalling tactic until Allo and Duo expands from a mobile-only app and gain multi-platform support and pack in more features and functionalities. Once the integration of Allo and Duo happens with Google accounts, apparently all bets are off!
In future, Hangouts will either be completely discontinued, or co-exist with Allo and Duo –much like what Facebook messenger is successfully doing with Whatsapp.
For now, Hangouts seems to be safe as it is integral to the Google suite of enterprise tools, as well as Project Fi, (an ambitious mobile virtual network operator owned by Google in order to provide wireless data service as well as phone service). Besides, unlike Duo and Allo, Hangouts work on desktop, can be integrated with Google docs and Gmail, and has a robust video calling feature that permits multiple participants at once.
So, go ahead and schedule the Live streaming of your long awaited program in YouTube Live. After all, end of Google Hangouts does not mean the end of Live streaming!