Google Says Goodbye to Allo

Posted on December 6, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Mobile with 28 Comments

Google confirmed that it is killing its Allo smart messaging app and will instead focus on Messages, its Android messaging app.

Confused? That’s normal: Google’s messaging strategy is a mess, and it has been for years. But it appears that the search giant is finally taking steps to change that.

“We built Google Allo, a smart messaging app, to help you get more done in your chats and express yourself more easily,” Google vice president Matt Klainer explains. “Earlier this year we paused investment in Allo and brought some of its most—loved features—like Smart Reply, GIFs and desktop support—into Messages. Given Messages’ continued momentum, we’ve decided to stop supporting Allo to focus on Messages.”

Allo was announced alongside a video messaging app called Duo at Google I/O 2016. As I noted at the time, it is “yet another messaging app,” whose rationale seemed to be its availability on iPhone as well. But with this week’s change, it appears that Google no longer believes it can innovate in messaging on the rival platform.

Duo, as it turns out, will continue. And unlike with Allo, Google says it is seeing “strong engagement across both Android and iOS.” So the firm says it “will continue to bring more quality improvements based on machine learning that make video calls with Duo simple and reliable.”

As for Hangouts, the other unclear entry in Google’s family of messaging apps, Google previously announced that it would “evolve” Hangouts into separate Hangout Chats and Hangouts Meet experiences for businesses. But it will continue supporting individuals who use Hangouts until Hangout Chats and Hangout Meet are made available to consumers too.

Yes, Google is continuing with the confusion. This is, as Google sees it, progress.

“We’re excited by the progress we’ve made with our communications experience over the past few years, and ready to take what we’ve learned from Allo and put it to work to make Messages even better,” Klainer writes. “And by refocusing on Messages and Duo for consumers and Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet for team collaboration, we’re focused on delivering a simpler and more unified communications experience for all of you.”


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Comments (28)

28 responses to “Google Says Goodbye to Allo”

  1. wbhite

    I hope they don't drop Duo as well. My whole family uses it. It's a great cross-platform alternative to Skype for video calling.

  2. dcdevito

    Not site why everyone is going nuts over this, this isn't news, we already knew this to an extent. With that said, I've switched to Android Messenges. Works just fine, no issues. Looking forward to Google Assistant integration, it's what made Allo such a smart app.

  3. randallcorn

    I tried Allo, did not care for it at the time.

    if iMessage is so wonderful then why doesn't Apple put it on Android as well and rule the world?

  4. alabamaboy

    What's wrong with simple texting?

  5. wolters

    I've seen a lot of Allo in Android Messages, so not a huge loss. I used Allo to talk to one person...oddly, an Apple guy who used Allo.

  6. waethorn

    Confusing consumers: Advertiser 101.

  7. markdmetzger

    Perhaps part of the reason Allo never had "strong engagement" is that Google seems to frequently kill off services for sometimes no apparent reason. I used to be a frequent user of iGoogle and Latitude. Since Google terminated those services, I am much more reluctant to start using a new Google service as I have no idea if it will be around for any reasonable amount of time.

  8. dontbe evil

    what's allo? I bet next service will be chrome only

  9. rmlounsbury

    I've only ever used Messages for the most part (I did use Hangouts when you could make it the default SMS client). I do use Duo as a Facetime for Android client so I can video chat with friends or family when travelling.

    Obviously Allo was Google's attempt to create an iMessage type client for Android. But, if you aren't going to let folks use it as the default SMS client (like iMessage on iOS) then no one is going to use it.

  10. jimchamplin

    Apparently only Apple is capable of building an IM platform that doesn't suck. But since we're talking about Apple, it's Apple-only. Google, of course, is Google, and had to keep re-inventing their services with incompatible new ones. Microsoft, being Microsoft they looked at Windows Live Messenger and the millions of active users and said. "What the heck, we'll end this successful service and ruin Skype too. Everyone will love it."

    The thing that's amazing about how none of these people can get it right is that this was done multiple times twenty freaking years ago! Say what you want about how hokey AOL and Yahoo were, their IM platforms worked right the first time, and kept working right for years.

    • Daekar

      In reply to jimchamplin:

      Your last point is what completely puzzles me about this too. This problem was solved. On dialup. It was reliable, always up, and there were a number of options. We had cross-platform IP-based texting before texting was a big thing... why in the heck is this so difficult now!?

  11. Sir_Timbit

    As an iOS user I was always trying to find the equivalent Google service to iMessage and still can't wrap my brain over how Google can mess this up so badly. How many different messaging apps do they have now? Five? What's the point?

    I use Google Hangouts for communicating with friends on Android... It's available for iOS, and of course pops up on Gmail on the desktop as well. It feels pretty much like iMessage to me and works. And so now they're killing it (eventually).... SIGH.

  12. CaedenV

    Hangouts is the oldest and best product they have which does it all and is available everywhere! I don't understand why they felt the need to 'innovate' on short lived products like this rather than continuing to make Hangouts better.

  13. wright_is

    I have yet to meet anyone who uses / has used Hangouts, Allo or Duo. I used Messages for SMS on my Nexus, I didn't realize it could do more than that...

    Edit: Only Duo is even installed on my phone (pre-installed), but deaktivated.

  14. coeus89

    I am totally done with any Google or Microsoft messaging app platform. They both cannot get their act together. It is Discord and FB Messenger Lite for me unless someone gives me a compelling reason to use something else.

  15. simont

    4 different messaging systems is supposed to be unified and more simple?????? Or at least until Google announces a newer better different messaging system which may or may not last for a year or two.

  16. Pbike908

    I actually like Messages. I've tried other apps, but I like it for it's simplicity.

  17. Daekar

    *facepalm* Another one bites the dust. It does sound like they're barking up the right tree this time, especially if they ensure that Messages is the default SMS app on a lot of phones moving forward.

  18. Polycrastinator

    Google's big mistake was not allowing a Google account login for Allo, and not transitioning Hangouts over. My entire workplace at the time used Hangouts, and continued to do so, and were just left with a question of why they should use Allo at all? So we never did. If they'd combined the services, made Allo the default messaging app on Android with support for SMS as well, then they might have had a fighting chance. But everything was half-assed and so the transition never happened. And that's still the situation, it seems.

    • JacobTheDev

      In reply to Polycrastinator:

      Yea, what killed it was that it was just *another* thing, and not an update to the existing messaging platform. If they had made it their new SMS app, and enabled Google account support, it would've essentially been their iMessage, and it could've been successful. Instead, Google decided to make a splinter app that no one cared about because everyone already uses something like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype, etc. The only way Allo could've worked is if it was just the default messaging app (including for SMS) on Android. It stood no chance as a standalone thing.

  19. yoshi

    It wasn't a bad service by any means, I just couldn't find anyone else that was actually using it. Also was a bit of a battery hog on iOS, for the limited time I tried it out.

  20. rob4jen

    Allo is/was a fantastic messaging platform. Super fast, web access, and excellent quick replies. I will be sad to see it go.

    • bassoprofundo

      In reply to rob4jen:

      Agreed... My whole family has been using it as our internal communication mechanism since shortly after it came out, and that's no small task to get them to adopt something ("because texting already works fine..."). I don't like that's tied to phone # exclusively rather than my google account, but I could live with it as long as I can use it from a PC too. I've been burned by Google before, so I don't know why I thought this was any different.

  21. biplovezake

    Allo never really worked for google..  TALLEST STATUES IN THE WORLD

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