Who Will Be Missing Google Allo/Hangouts?
Remember Allo? The used to be Google’s answer to Apple’s iMessage in the area of instant messaging will enter the digital museum, joining Google Plus, Google Buzz, Google Talk, iGoogle before it. Google has lost the war they waged against iMessage, there is still no centralized pre-installed instant messaging app as good as iPhone’s iMessage. At first glance, the strategy of Google when it released Allo was defective on day 1. Google Hangouts has gained a foothold, especially in the area of group video chatting for years, and they still released Allo to target the common Android user, the first time Android users.
Google has not publicly revealed the reason behind the impending discontinuation, but allegedly, this has something to do with separation of Amit Fulay, the head of the Allo developer team. He moved to Facebook effective January 2018, coincidentally the current version of Allo was released at that time period and never updated since.
Many of the still loyal users of Allo are still clinging to the hope that it will be updated someday. That will no longer be the case as Fulay’s remaining team members moved to the Android Messages team within Google, which marks the full abandonment of the Allo project for good.
During its released, Google dubbed it as “a clearly great set of product features, a great set of capabilities” and “a product that has tremendous momentum”. They clearly believe that the new instant messaging client will be a big hit, especially during the reign of Google Hangouts, which is seen as more useful in group video chats than for 1-on-1 video call conversations.
“There are a lot of great messaging products and experiences that are out there. Just because Google may want to be one of them is not a reason for us to invest or build products. We fundamentally build products because we believe we can deliver better, improved user experiences,” said Anil Sabharwal, VP for Google Photos and Communications during its release.
It is not only Google Allo which will be relegated to the history of Google’s discontinued products, Hangouts classic is also scheduled to follow. Google with all its intents and purposes has relegated Hangout for only the enterprise. The consumer version of Hangout available from Google Play using a regular Gmail account will also be retired.
Google believes that multigroup video chatting has a lot of use in the Enterprise compared to the consumer space. But Google has given users at least a year before they shut down the Hangout for consumers service. Hangout servers will be shut down in 2020. At the time of this writing, Hangout is still available for download in the Google Play Store, while Gmail webpage also prominently displays the embedded Hangout side chats. Long-time users of Hangouts are already complaining of the unfixed bugs in the app, especially the app’s tendency of being very crash prone.
With the impending death of the two chat apps from Google, the search giant is hopeful that its official replacement, Android Messages will be able to pick-up the slack.