Google is finally doing something about its incoherent messaging strategy

Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • All of Google's chat/communication apps are now being led by one person.
  • Javier Soltero is now in charge of G Suite, Messages, Duo, and Google's phone app.
  • There are currently no plans to merge any of the apps together.

To say that Google's messaging/communication strategy is a mess would be quite the understatement. Google makes good services in these regards, but it just doesn't seem to know what to do with any of them. Thankfully, it looks like some order and structure is finally coming.

On May 7, Javier Soltero (the Vice President and General Manager of G Suite) was appointed to lead the development of Messages, Duo, and Google's phone app on Android. Seeing as how Soltero's G Suite position also sees him being in charge of Google Meet and Google Chat (formerly Google Hangouts Chat), that means one person is now responsible for all of Google's communication services.

What does all of this mean for the future of Google's messaging apps? Right now, probably not too much. Speaking with The Verge, Soltero says that we won't see any immediate mergers or integrations between the various apps, saying, "We believe people make choices around the products that they use for specific purposes."

Google Meet vs. Google Duo

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Hiroshi Lockheimer, who's responsible for the teams that work on Android and Chrome OS, reiterated that point, saying:

It's not necessarily a bad thing that there are multiple communications applications if they're for a different purpose. Part of what might be confusing, what we've done to confuse everyone, is our history around some of our communications products that have gone from one place or another place. But we're looking forward now, in a way that has a much more coherent vision.

In other words, Google is aware that its communication services have been a mess for a long time and is eager to finally do something about it.

For the record, here's what the current lineup of these apps looks like:

  • Google Messages — Android app for texting/RCS messaging
  • Google Duo — Free video and audio chatting app
  • Google Phone — Dialer app for Android
  • Google Chat — Enterprise messaging platform
  • Google Meet — Enterprise video chatting

Let's not forget that the old consumer version of Google Hangouts still exists for messaging, video, and phone calls, not to mention Google Voice which is still a thing and failed projects like Allo and Spaces.

It's been a long-running joke that Google has no idea what it's doing with its messaging/communication, but this does seem like a proper effort from the company to get rid of that stigma. This certainly won't be an overnight change, but you have to start somewhere.

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Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.