It’s dead Jim. After a rumour filled week, Google has finally decided to get ahead of the rumour mill, announcing their plans to kill off Allo, as well as re-iterate their plans for Hangouts Classic.
After the rumours of Allo being killed off surfaced yesterday, Google has confirmed the death knell for the messaging service saying it will ‘continue to work through March 2019’. Users are encouraged to export their conversations from the service before it’s killed off, with instructions on how to do so put up on the Google Support site.
With Allo being killed off, and Hangouts Classic users being transitioned, this leaves a mere five messaging apps Google has. Sigh, yes, five: Messages (SMS/RCS/MMS), Duo (Video Chat), Google Voice (US-only for IP calls/messages), Hangouts Chat (Instant messaging) and Hangouts Meet (Video for Enterprise).
If you’re still confused, you’re not alone. Justin Uberti, creator/engineering lead of Google Duo and WebRTC shared this explanation of Google’s messaging strategy on Twitter yesterday:
While helpful, we do need to note that if you need a table to decide which messaging application you’re going to use then it’s not being done well.
Google’s messaging strategy can only be described as ridiculous at this stage. In terms of Hangouts it’s slow and missing features from modern clients like threaded messages and loads more, RCS has been only implemented in a limited capacity in Australia so that’s useless, and the one shining light is Duo – but the question has to be asked: Why is it a separate app instead of built-in to an all encompassing messaging solution?
As an Android user, like most people I’ve moved on to other solutions. I’m interested to see what Google can do, but at this stage they’ve lost a lot of users to other platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Signal and more. Can they bring users back? I don’t believe so with their current line-up, we want more Google, listen to your customers.