I actually use hangouts for video calls with relative frequency, and I wish it was better adapted to changes in network speed like they say Duo is.
I am on the same boat as you, using Hangouts for video calls quite frequently. I know these will be preinstalled on Android, but many friends and family use i OS and I will feel silly asking them to install Duo and Allo. They are squandering the small amount of momentum Hangouts has.
Instead of releasing a new app like Duo, they should have first fixed performance issues with Hangouts and added this as an update. Hangouts is able to mix voice, video and text just fine. Google's communications strategy has been bafflingly dumb for years and years now.
But since Hangouts was released, they've removed the few fun social features, removed hangout plugins, and just took what was feature-rich and dumbed it down to the point where I wonder why I should have an entire separate page open dedicated to hangouts when even Skype is a more graceful solution with more functionality.
I really liked g Chat when it was small and out of the way.
For example, Facebook's separating out of FB Messenger was done while preserving the already built-up network effect. I remember a time when everybody I knew went to google for communications services.
After a few years of domination Google started competing with itself and suddenly those of us who were willing to change found ourselves alone. The entire Google Hangouts experience is extremely unfriendly and difficult to use. It's hard to get any non-technical person into a Hangouts call for the first time.I am guessing here but I think Google is on to something around innovation. It's basically competition to Whats App, several years late.They are launching innovative future facing apps without the constraints of legacy systems. Whats App solved the messaging for masses, non-technical folks, parents and grandparents.I like hangouts because it allows me to use one app for voice, text and video. Sure it's overdue, but they sold over 1.4B devices without it.My guess is Duo will be like Inbox competing with gmail. It makes their offering more compelling to i OS users who've come to expect Face Time.Almost my ENTIRE social network (that was on chat; this was before every part of society was "on the Internet") used to be on Gchat.That's a massive network-effects advantage that they had ages before anyone else did (including Facebook, but Facebook's network did surpass them with the ability to find someone by their face).I mean, it's missing features like searching by name (there's a workaround by going to calls, putting in the name, and choosing SMS) and other things, but it's worth it to be able to type and copy paste texts.Hangouts on Desktop though is horrible Can you please elaborate on why you think so? Maybe it is because it was horrible before and I', using a newer version?Several other search engines fizzled underneath Yahoo's reign, Google would've been no exception has it not been for Yahoo's miscalculation.The network effect is portable when the identities are preserved across products.