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.”