Google says it’s not so much killing Hangouts as focusing on its enterprise-focused Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet apps… and eventually opening them up to the general public. But the company is outright killing one of its communication apps outright.

Following a recent report from 9to5Google, Google that after pausing investment in its Allo chat app earlier this year, the company has confirmed it will pull the plug on Allo altogether in march, 2019.

The company plans to continue developing and supporting several other communication apps though.

For text-based messaging, Google says it’ll continue investing in its Messages SMS app. The company says there are currently over 175 million people using the app, which has picked up new features in recent years including support for GIFs, desktop usage, and smart replies.

For video messaging, Google will continue to focus on Duo.

So… here’s where things will probably stand when things shake out in next year or so:

  • Allo – dead
  • Duo – alive and well
  • Messages – Google’s primary consumer chat app
  • Hangouts – kind of dead in its current, consumer-focused form
  • Hangouts Chat – enterprise chat app will be available to consumers
  • Hangouts Meet – enterprise video call app will be available to consumers

Clear as mud, no?

It does seem interesting that Google is going all in on an SMS-based messaging app. While SMS is still widely used in the United States, where most carriers offer unlimited texting, it’s my understanding that part of the appeal of alternate messaging apps like WhatsApp, Line and Telegram in the rest of the world is due not only to their feature sets, but also to their use of data networks rather than the SMS protocol.

I suspect that could limit the international appeal of Messages.


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6 replies on “Goodbye Allo: Google is streamlining its communication app lineup”

  1. This is beyond confusing…But I guess they have to battle the carriers to get them to go along various services. Does anybody know what is the most comprehensive Messenger/phone/texting app to use In Canada on a data only plan given that we do not have access to Google Voice?

  2. “their use of data networks rather than the SMS protocol.”

    UK here, you’re absolutely right I’d prefer to use data than SMS. On a basic level SMS is fine, I can send unlimited texts as part of my contract and that’s fairly common. I cannot however send a picture, that’s an MMS for £0.50 each. If I send a long text by default that gets bundled into an MMS rather than sending multiple SMS so again costs me £0.50. If I want to know the recipient got my message that’s £0.03 per message.

    Meanwhile I could use my data allowance (also unlimited) with basically any IM platform and get all this for free.

    1. I can’t give you enough upvotes. In addition, the beauty of messaging apps like whatsapp is in creating groups and broadcast lists for common interest colleagues, friends or relatives.

    2. Dang, 50p for an MMS? That’s like so very 90’s. I feel for you guys.

      1. You don’t need to spare the Brits too much sympathy. When it comes to data, they get far better deals in general. For what I pay for 3GB of data per month ($27) you can get a plan with 100GB a month, including hot-spot usage for the entire amount, including 12GB data while traveling overseas. And Americans think Google Fi is a good deal!!

        Also, minutes on their pay-as-you-go plans never expire (unless you don’t use the phone at all for six months), so if you’re a light user, you can make £5 last all year.

        Overall, the Brits get much better smartphone deals than we do here. Things are improving in the US, but nothing compared to over there.

    3. Given how cheap the data is these days in the UK, I would think the high cost of MMS is pretty much a non-issue for the vast majority of mobile phone users there. My sister’s family uses Whatsapp almost exclusively, for example.

      I’m assuming Google must have seen the numbers and decided that Messenger is still worth the investment, even as they’re still investing in other data-driven services.

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