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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.

Here's how Google just changed the Android 11 release schedule

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

12 Comments
  • Cant wait for yet another messaging app from Google to be pushed out, last a few months, and then get canned. How hard is it to get 1 messaging app that can do it all? Apparently very hard for Google. 
  • It is what it is. Google android developers are not listening to the consumers. They are way back behind to other apps to what means a messaging app. There are a number of only limitations. The leader of their officials might be a total moron. They took so small steps, even to make it as available on Pc or on tablet it took a while and long after others did it.
  • Too little, too late.
  • "Google Meet — Enterprise video chatting" this is no longer true, since they allow consumers to use it. Google themselves are confused.
  • Temporarily. I think it's only free through September
  • Lol 😂, the Google graveyard is having some new holes dug.
  • Just how hard is it for Google to sort out their message and communication apps, very hard apparently for Google.
  • I don't exactly understand why people seems to be pretending always one app for everything and in this regards Google (even if sometimes experimenting too much) it's not very different than other companies, we do have WhatsApp, WhatsApp Business, Messenger, Messenger for Kids, Instagram DM, Workplace from Facebook, don't we?
    We do have Skype, Skype for Business, Teams, LinkedIn from Microsoft, don't we?
    I like the separation of the consumer and the business space, since the last one often needs to offer options that are not necessary to the average user, like my Mom and Dad can be.
    Truth is there are a couple of integrations that might make sense, and for the rest I'd keep the development into these 5 apps for different purposes.
    I'd love to get an opt-in solution to use what's actually Hangouts within the Messages app, since many of us love to be able to chat with his friends within Gmail on desktop.
    And I'd love to see Google Voice service expand to Europe, otherwise Google could add the option to buy credit and make calls to landlines or mobile numbers with Duo.
  • Great there are recognizing there needs to be centralized leadership to develop better and brand consistent communications apps. Whether it is one or two consistent and clear purpose is require to be successful. Android is no longer a project it is successful product that requires consistency across all core functions and integration. Good move better later than never.
  • You forgot Google Voice, the redheaded stepchild of Google's communication platforms.
  • USA only though :(.
  • I just want Google Messages to support Scheduling texts. Come on Google every other SMS app can already do it. Waiting on this to move from Samsung Messages. I used to use PulseSMS but that'll never get RCS support so...