The Moto G5 Plus home screen shows just how weird Google's chat strategy is right now

Check out the home screen for a new Moto G5 Plus and you'll find the usual Google Apps folder full of bloatware useful Google-made apps, and on the other side of the Moto app you'll find an icon for Google Duo. We know that Google exercises quite a bit of control over how an Android phone with the Google Play Services onboard needs to look, with some special emphasis on the home screen.

It's not unusual for Google to want to show off new apps, so it's not too odd to see Duo on the home page instead of in the Google folder, but Duo is alone on the home screen. There's no Allo to be found. In fact, it's not even installed on the phone.

Google's messaging strategy for the future should be super clear by now. Allo and Duo, the chat and video messaging service unveiled at Google I/O last year, are the default apps for consumers. Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, the re-branded counterparts every Android user has seen for the last couple of years, is for businesses or large groups. There's no law saying you must use one or the other if you prefer, but the dividing lines have become fairly clear and Google seems committed to building Allo and Duo up to offer something unique and useful to users.

So why is it the new budget-friendly and surprisingly capable Moto G5 Plus, complete with Android 7.0, doesn't reflect that strategy when you boot the phone for the first time?

Seriously, I don't know. You tell me.

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

  • I think Android Messages is actually the primary strategy for Google at the moment. Alo was released before AM received RCS support, and AM with RCS has a better chance of getting market share. Thus they have AM and Duo on the home screen
  • Well said, I agree. Pretty much covers it, IMO.
  • Why make things complicated when you can make allo works just like iMessage. But "AM got RCS" exactly! why google need iphone users to make its chat application successful when they have the biggest users in the world. Just push allo to every android phone out there as a default texting app. Who cares about RCS that needs so many requirements, fom Carriers, bla bla bla.
  • FFS! Allo doesn't have SMS, so you just answered your own question of why it can't! If you don't understand that, there's no further point in any discussion of the subject.
  • I think Google has proven over and over again that it really needs to hire someone with some customer experience background. Their products are still confusing by design. They are getting much better than they used to be, but they really need someone good at that type of guidance.
  • I still don't know what the hell Google Voice really is after all these years.
  • It was supposed to be a low-cost platform for calling, but it never went anywhere, like all other Google products that too go nowhere.
  • Its an internet voicemail & call forwarding service
    (that eventually added VoIP, giving the ability to make internet calls & sms thru partnerships with landline companies). So you get a free # that you can forward to any cell/landline phone. IT has all sorts of voicemail & phone management features, like call recording, call blocking, etc. And can make free internet VoIP calls.
  • Google had it all in Hangouts: SMS, chat, video calling, and VOIP calls. But of course, they had create more pet projects for their ADD staff and screw it all up. Sometimes makes me want to jump ship to become a sheep.
  • The sad part is listening to people at google try to explain why they need so many messaging apps. It's bizarre.
  • I've got news for you. You're on the smartphone platform that outsells the competition 8 to 1. You ARE the sheep. Those in the minority are the free thinkers.
  • You are calling the iSheep free thinkers? Ahahahahahaaha!!!!!
  • I just shake my head every time this stupid conversations pops its ugly head. Isheep this dumb Android that. Honestly I wish there were more players in the game besides these two. Because basically for the last couple of years there really hasn't been any innovation just gimmicks No one's trying to push the envelope too bad there weren't more os's to choose from because right now between these two it's meh
  • Microsoft tried... I'd clap my hands for them
  • It really makes me wonder what Palm would have done if the Pre was a decent piece of hardware. I was dead set on getting the Pre when it was announced. My buddy got one, and as soon as I saw it, and put it in my hand, I wanted nothing to do with it. I ended up going with the HTC Hero. Really makes me think that it would probably be WebOS and iOS being the two major players, with Android being good, but nowhere near the dominating OS it is today (Prior to honeycomb, Duarte was the head of software design for WebOS, before being picked up by Google/Android). To think that poor hardware really sank Palm. WebOS has now been sent to the code graveyard, as the software on LG smart TVs.
  • No innovation? Have you been under a rock?
    Just look at what Android can be installed on, apps to chrome, ios syncing with & handing off to PC, Auto versions of both. Watch versions of both. Home automation, integration of AI, and VR. New api's, new run times, new app integration.
    And way more
  • Nope in the last two years really hasn't been a hell of a lot of innovation
  • More fragmentation and confusion for the average user
  • They need to add SMS/RCS support to Allo, do a seemless iMessage style thing. Take Android Messages, open source it and have it be the AOSP messaging app. Done.
  • google made it more complicated. google should have made "Android Messages" the global platform. Android Messages is already tied to ur phone number for SMS and then add allo to Android Messages as an opt in. now u have one app which send message/allo msg based on the receiving person's status(if he has allo or not).
    later they could have got the duo in to android messages as a separate icon on the chat or on contact which kicks of duo video call. now when rcs comes in it now becomes hybrid of sms/rcs/allo/duo
    let hangout and google voice stay as it is now
  • As well as support for GV SMS. Then it would be....Hangouts.
  • Now I'm getting pop-up ads for Mint Sim that completely block reading the article... Really AC? The articles on Mint have been bad enough, bordering on deceptive marketing...
  • Install Samsung browser beta along with ad blocker for Samsung. It blocks all those ads.
  • Android Messages. I think that's their strategy.
  • In Google's rush to placate the business market, they're screwing individual users. Messenger has much less functionality than Hangouts. Hangouts was the only SMS app I knew of that was cross platform on Android, iOS and Chrome. Google's Hangouts strategy makes me very mad. I will think about moving away from Android and Google services because of this. I can pretty easily switch to Microsoft services on iPhone and iPad.
  • Allo = sms
    Duo = video chat
    Messenger = sms
    GV = sms, calls, voice mail
    Hangouts = sms, calls, voice mail, video chat Did I miss any?
  • And not a one let's you send a VCard!
  • From what I hear Hangouts will no longer support SMS anymore. To make things worse lol
  • Allo =/ sms.
  • Corrected:
    Allo = chat
    Duo = video chat
    Android Messages = sms with RCS
    GV = sms, calls, v-mail - still integrated with Hangouts
    Hangouts = sms, calls, v-mail, v-chat
  • (duplicate)
  • I cannot answer your question and Google won't. They are the only app maker, I've used, that does not have anyone that you can talk to about their apps. If you have an issue or question you are left to only bulletin board chat with 'experts'. Maddening.
    The best thing about unlocked Moto phones is the ability to root and then do whatever you want with the bloatware.... I mean useful Google-made apps.
  • Meanwhile Facebook messenger is taking the world by storm. Good job Google.
  • I have no idea what Allo and Duo is, and apparently i don't need them because my phone works just fine for texting and calling. I used Hangouts a couple of times just to see what a video chat was like, but I never used it again. Nobody needs to see my phone-distorted face, two-day beard and messed-up hair, I can communicate just fine on the phone. Remember the phone call? The thing that was supposed to be the primary function of a "cell phone" and "smart phone"?
  • Apple has imessage and facetime, simple.! I think idk, I don't have an iPhone lol but still you get my point.
  • Seems odd the play icon's aren't in the google folder too. Why populate the desktop with more icons? I guess they're letting novices learn how to set the desktop? I've got a google folder on my desktop with everything google in it( plus it's transparent adjustable, with a semi-transparent theme for each icon). It's so obvious that the idea was to market select google apps. Hate to see what custom desktops look two years from none.
  • #facepalm